Give Back Holiday Season

How to Give Back During This Holiday Season

With the coming of the holiday season, this is a time when we all need to slow down and reflect on what we have and also what we do not. While Thanksgiving break brings happy memories and endless amounts of comfort food, it is easy to forget that not everyone can have that exact experience. Some of Monmouth’s own students are not going to go home to an extravagant feast.

Recently, Monmouth students have organized a full-year donation drive to help out both students who live on and off campus. The Hawk’s Nest is a food pantry in Laurel Hall, open from 4-6 p.m. on Monday and Thursday.

Nick Verzicco, senior business administration and finance student, said, “We have passed out about 40 meal bags so far.” The Nest is a fairly new organization and there is only room to grow.

Verzicco continued, “When you come, bring a friend and spread the word. You can use the hashtag #HawksFeedingHawks.”

The Honors School has also run its own donation drives throughout the semesters. In early October, students gathered in Beechwood Lobby and created bags with hygienic items, non-perishable snacks, and small clothing items like socks.

You do not need to be in the honors school to get involved in events like these. The more help, the more items to donate, and the more we can help soldiers stationed overseas who do not always have access to 24/7 convenience stores.

There will be more opportunities to get involved in other donation drives throughout the semester.  Keep an eye out for posters around the library, student center, and even the residential dorms.

If you find that it is often hard getting off-campus, there are fundraisers that pop-up all over campus. On Sunday, Nov. 4, Monmouth University’s Students Advocating Girls’ Education (SAGE) had a 5K fundraiser that began right on Wilson’s steps. It was only $10 for students and $20 for non-student participants.

Rekha Datta, Ph.D., professor of political science, indicated that the proceeds would go “to benefiting local schools.” The money raised went to schools in economic need around the Monmouth County area. Just by participating, you are helping out schools who are not getting adequate funding.

The 5K run is only one example of the fundraisers around campus. Have you ever walked onto the Student Center Patio and seen a few tables selling food or Monmouth University merchandise? Often times those are clubs hosting small fundraisers to help fund their activities. Some clubs, like SAGE and First Year Service Project, all raise money or host donation events to give the proceeds or items to those in need.

On the Great Lawn, McKliney Street and Whitman Terrace in Long Branch, there is an annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. While this year’s walk already passed, you can get an idea as to the many fundraisers that are nearby campus.

Melissa Culmone, a senior statistics student, participates in the walk every year. She said, “I walk in memory of my dad, Thomas John Culmone Sr., who passed away from Leukemia in 2009.” Culmone continued, this year, her team alone “raised over $1,000 which gets donated to blood cancer research and to families who need financial help” with medical bills.

There is more to college than just classes and parties. We need to remember that we are all fortunate in our own ways, but that does not mean that we can just sit back and relax. We are a family at Monmouth University and by going to this school, we are now a part of the greater Long Branch community. Let’s give back to the place that we can call our second home.

PHOTO TAKEN by Jenna Puglisi