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Notre Dame student wins service award

Anna Boarini | Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Service has always been a part of Erin Wright’s life, and the Notre Dame junior finally is being recognized for her tireless efforts to the area.

Wright is the 2012 recipient of the Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award from Indiana Campus Compact. According to a press release from the Center for Social Concerns (CSC), the award is given to a student at an Indiana college or university for the impact they have on the citizens of the state and their community.

“I think it is very humbling and honoring to win this award,” Wright said. “It’s a good testament to the organizations I work with and the people they serve. This makes me want to stay involved and continue to work with them.”

As a high school student, Wright was involved with her school’s campus ministry. When she came to Notre Dame, getting involved in a variety of service opportunities was a

way to become engaged on campus, she said.

Wright is the president of Friends of the Orphans, a group that works in Honduras, interned last summer at St. Jude’s Children Hospital through the CSC’s Summer Service

Learning Program, and is a poverty studies minor.

Wright said she is committed to service in her future, no matter where she ends up.

“I’m not sure what I want to do, I want to do some service, perhaps spend some time abroad,” she said. “I think I want to go to grad school and study global health. I want to work in development issues and how it relates to health care.”

As an intern at St. Jude’s, Wright worked with patients and their families.

Wright is a poverty studies minor and has participated in many CSC seminars, including the Appalachia program and Urban Plunge.

Last year, she was part of a theology class who started a food co-op in the Monroe Park neighborhood, a local “food desert.”

In the press release, Cynthia Toms-Smedley, director of the Educational Immersion Seminars at the CSC, said Wright is an advocate for people living on the margins of society.

“Erin has demonstrated a deep and abiding conscience for people living at the margins of our society,” Toms-Smedley said. “Furthermore, her tireless efforts toward poverty alleviation have produced countless positive outcomes for her peer students, university staff and faculty, and for community members.”

Fr. William M. Lies, executive director of the CSC, nominated Wright for the award.

“As an educator, I am struck by the realization that many students come and go through our doors during our decades of university service,” Lies said in the press release. “Most students learn and contribute to our lives. However, once in a while, a special student enters our doors – a student that embodies our greatest values and bolsters our hope in the future. Erin Wright is that student.”

Contact Anna Boarini at [email protected]