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ND alumni promote events nationwide

Will Puckett | Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Many students are aware of the ongoing “One Can Make A Difference: Working for Positive Change” collection for the food bank of Northern Indiana, but the Alumni Association, through its Alumni Community Service department, sponsors many more community service initiatives.

“Notre Dame students are very active in community service, with about 80 percent of them engaging in it,” said Sean O’Brien, director of alumni community service. “We want to help those students remain active after they graduate and become alumni, as well as allow the entire Notre Dame family to participate.”

According to O’Brien, about 240 alumni clubs exist worldwide, and 80 percent of these clubs engage actively in community service.

“Our department really helps facilitate this involvement,” O’Brien said. “We provide a lot of service opportunities and try to help alumni and students, as well, get involved.”

The Community Service Department runs or participates in about 16 programs every year, with a wide-ranging group of beneficiaries. While many projects are held in the area of a local alumni club, there are always service opportunities on campus or in the greater South Bend area.

For example, Notre Dame Prostate Awareness and Cancer Education, along with Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, sponsored a two-day prostate cancer screening for 662 men in four locations around South Bend.

Another event, the annual Domer Run, benefits cancer programs like Notre Dame’s PACE Program and Awareness of Breast Cancer. Next year’s Domer Run may benefit ovarian cancer awareness, O’Brien said.

Multiple projects also take place during the summer, when alumni can easily return to campus. Family volunteer camps occur in July, allowing alumni and friends to return to campus for a week to do service in the South Bend area for a variety of causes.

Summer Service Projects are sponsored by alumni clubs that host over 180 Notre Dame students who give up their summer vacations to perform community service in various locations.

Finally, the Hammerin’ Irish swarm a Habitat for Humanity build site in June. In this program, approximately 30 alumni join together to build a home in four days.

Over the midterm breaks, Notre Dame students participate in the Alumni Student Appalachia Program, in which students and alumni join together to aid service organizations in the Appalachia region. The program is generally well attended.

After Sept. 11, alumni started the “God, Country, Notre Dame” program, which provides support to people affected by Sept. 11 and subsequent events, especially military families.

A variety of smaller service projects are undertaken every year, such as the weekend Alumni Social Concerns Forum, the Notre Dame Day of Service, Notre Dame’s Tax Assistance Program and Medical Missions, in which alumni provide medical help worldwide.