- May 15, 2012
- 12:01 am
- Jessica Reynolds
Graduates giving back
A commitment to Jesuit values doesn’t end when you graduate. The annual Alumni Service Day brings together graduates of Loyola and other Jesuit universities to remind them of the value of serving others. This year’s Alumni Service Day, held Saturday, April 12, spread more than 200 alumni, friends, and family throughout Chicago, where they picked up trash, spruced up dilapidated sites, and found creative ways to lend a helping hand.
Clara Dina Hinojosa, assistant director of Alumni and Special Events, says the service day draws former Loyolans back into their alma mater’s mission and better familiarizes them with the communities in which they reside.
“When people are able to do community service as a group, they can get to know the agencies in their own neighborhoods and see how they might be able to contribute to the growing needs those agencies and schools serve,” Hinojosa says.
Volunteers selected their site from a list of 14, which ranged from schools and community groups located in Austin, Uptown, Edgewater, and other neighborhoods in all parts of the city. “Sometimes people picked locations because of the proximity to them or because of the mission of the organization,” Hinojosa says.
Loyola’s Latino Alumni Board painted stairwells and sanitized children’s toys at Casa Infantil, a Hispanic social service agency in Logan Square that provides childcare and pre-school prep to low-income families. The African American Alumni Network prepped for renovations by clearing out the basement at the Chicago Jesuit Academy, a college prep school for young men on the West Side.
Mike Hartnett, BA ’89, helped out at the Erie Family Health Center in North Lawndale on Alumni Service Day. He and his family have ties to not only Loyola but Mundelein College, Loyola Academy, and St. Ignatius that go back generations. “Being invited each year to spend a day with fellow graduates only serves to remind me what an amazing education I received at Loyola,” Hartnett says.
For the first time ever, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, and Marquette University partnered with Loyola for the day. Each school sponsored their own site and invited alumni currently living in the Chicago area to join.
The group members worked throughout the morning at each of the sites and concluded over a picnic lunch. The day ended with laughs and reminiscing about college times, but also with the exchanging of business cards.
“Service projects are opportunities for people to get to know each other in a more casual setting, rather than a formal networking event,” Hinojosa explains.
Looking ahead to next year’s service day, Hinojosa says she wants a more inclusive event. Although students are invited to participate, and a small percentage do, she would like to see faculty, staff, students, and alumni all working together instead of having separate service days.
“How rich that could be for all these people to come together and meet one another, share information, and foster formal relationships and continue those relationships with great Jesuit pride,” Hinojosa says.
To check out the Storify for Alumni Service Day, click here.