Service Missions Set Sail
A major part of Seton Hall’s Catholic mission includes outreach and service programs that students can participate in. The Campus Ministry Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) provides opportunities for weekly service programs, including projects like converting the DOVE van into an ice cream truck and handing out free ice cream on hot days.
Sept. 14 marked the start of about 20 weekly programs that run through the DOVE office. Many of these programs are “filled to capacity (with) volunteers for each of them,” said Michelle Peterson, the director of DOVE. “About 10 to 12 students participate at each site (and) our large-scale Service on Saturdays (SOS) program typically has between 300 to 400 participants.”
According to Peterson, the fall semester’s schedule is filled with programs, including a new program with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish located in Orange, N.J.
“We are excited to work with Our Lady of Mount Carmel to assist with their youth group on Saturday nights,” Peterson said.
Francis Tiongson, a senior and frequent DOVE volunteer, said that DOVE is an essential part of the campus as a whole. Tiongson finds it rewarding to give back to the community while getting the opportunity to meet new students.
“That clichéd, warm and bubbly feeling you get when you do something good tends to happen, which is why I (serve),” Tiongson said. “It alleviates my stress, makes me feel better about myself and allows me to help people in what little ways I can.”
Gabriela Taveras, a junior participant in weekly DOVE trips, said she feels the rewarding aspect of serving on these trips. Despite the busy schedules students may have, Taveras said there’s usually time left over in every week to do something to give back.
“It is always worthwhile to help others out regardless of how busy you may be,” Taveras said. “Nothing compares to the happiness that runs through you as you genuinely know you were able to help
DOVE’s theme this year is “Live the Mission.” In accordance with the theme, DOVE came up with a new program, called “Mission on the Move.” According to Peterson, the idea evolved from a random act of kindness initiative that DOVE’s staff participated in last semester. DOVE’s work study students stationed around campus to pass out leftover treats, like candy, from the Valentine’s Carnival with messages about love attached.
“The response was amazing; students were shocked and thrilled by this random act of kindness,” said Peterson. “Since then, we’ve made it a point to do random acts of kindness for our campus community. For example, on hot days, we’ve bought ice cream and transformed the DOVE van into an ice cream truck.”
This year, DOVE will make a special effort to continue the trend of sharing random acts of kindness. “Stay tuned for more kindness throughout the year,” Peterson said.
Diana Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org