- by Mount Saint Mary College
Students carrying boxes of donated food with Fr. Gregoire Fluet

Fr. Gregoire Fluet oversaw another successful food drive through Campus Ministry.

Service and the community matter. This is the first element of the Mount’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. It’s also a core value that has been shaping our students, employees, and alumni since the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh established the college as a four-year institution more than 60 years ago. 

Even after Commencement, our graduates carry on the college’s legacy of service in their personal and professional lives. They are nurses, teachers, mental health counselors, social workers, cybersecurity professionals, and more. They continue to volunteer in their communities. They don’t just want to make a difference – they are ready to act.

And it all starts in their freshman year. 

Giving back on campus

Through Campus Ministry’s annual St. Valentine Food Drive this winter, students of all grade levels, faculty, and staff donated more than $1,000 worth of food to help feed local people. The donations were given to the Deacon Jack Seymour Food Pantry in Newburgh.

“This collection allowed us to once again fulfill our mission at Mount Saint Mary College of outreach and service,” explained Fr. Gregoire Fluet, chaplain and director of Campus Ministry. “We were grateful to reach out to the larger community and help those who are in need.”

Softball team picture wearing pink Knights shirts
The Knights doubled their service hours

Fr. Fluet thanked everyone who pitched in for their efforts and their generosity, including the college’s Student Government Association and the Athletics department.

Meanwhile, dedicated Business students in the Walden Savings Bank Medici Scholars Program aided the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley’s philanthropic goals. This culminated with presenting a $500 check to William Vacca, board chair of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and vice president of Business Development at Walden Savings Bank, at the program’s graduation ceremony in May. 

Medici Scholars is a competitive program open to a handful of Mount Business students each year. It’s made possible through an endowed gift to the Mount from Walden Savings Bank. The program is overseen on campus by Anthony Scardillo, Medici faculty advisor and assistant professor of Marketing.

Joining the Medici Scholars in their service to the community was the Mount’s Dominican Scholars of Hope (DSH), who recently donated $300 to the Baby Steps Baby Pantry at Christ Lutheran Church in Newburgh.

Rooted in the values of the Judeo-Christian and Dominican heritage of the college, DSH is a nonacademic living and learning community for highly-motivated Mount students. The program is spearheaded by Charles Zola, assistant to the President for Mission Integration, director of the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute, and associate professor of Philosophy.

Through a Krispy Kreme donut fundraiser, the DSH raised the funds for the pantry, which provides infant supplies for families in need in the local area. Each month, families who are part of the program are provided with a week’s worth of diapers, wipes, wash, and cream. The Rev. Ernst Mossl, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, was grateful to accept the donations in person near the end of the Spring 2022 semester.

Also near the end of the semester, the Mount community came together for another kind of donation event: a blood drive. The college’s Student Nurses Association (SNA) planned the event and its members were among those assisting, along with medical professionals from the New York Blood Center. It was the second SNA blood drive of the semester, adding up to a combined total of more than 100 pints of blood collected.

In the community

For the Mount, service projects don’t end at the college’s main gate. From students hosting educational children’s programs at the Newburgh Ministry to volunteering at local food banks, the college is deeply rooted in the community. 

Knights in the Community, a service initiative run by student-athletes and coaches at the college, nearly doubled their amount of volunteer hours in the Spring 2022 semester. This included volunteering on Saturday mornings at The Newburgh Armory Unity Center, with a different team going each week; hosting a Trunk or Treat Halloween event at Bishop Dunn Memorial School; and sponsoring full Thanksgiving meals for local families in need. Athletes also spearheaded unique service projects with their teams, such as the Men’s Soccer team hosting a free soccer clinic for San Miguel Academy, a boys’ middle school in Newburgh; the Volleyball team lending their time to a local animal shelter; the Baseball and Softball teams offering a free clinic for adult aged individuals with disabilities; and the Men’s Basketball team unloading food trucks and serving it to those in need. 

Mount Nursing student participates in Fuzzy Friends clinic with area youth
Nursing students ran Fuzzy Friends clinics to introduce area youth to healthcare.

The Mount’s School of Nursing also enjoys giving back to the local communities. In addition to various community health education events throughout the year, the school regularly offers their popular Fuzzy Friends clinics, where children learn the “bear necessities” of medical care. Led by Linda Kelly, assistant professor of Nursing, the clinics feature students demonstrating how doctors and nurses use stethoscopes, bandages, blood pressure cuffs, and more to keep patients happy and healthy. The patients in this case are the children’s very own stuffed animals – ranging from traditional teddies to superheroes. 

“Sometimes children get scared at a doctor’s office when they see the stethoscope or other unfamiliar equipment, so this allows them to get comfortable with healthcare and nursing professionals,” said Kelly.

The clinics recently made a triumphant return after being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent clinic was held at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center as part of Family Literacy Night, but other clinics have also been held at Marlboro Free Library and beyond.  

The Mount’s service-focused approach to education goes hand-in-hand with helping professions like Nursing, Kelly added.

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