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Right to Life club hosts service fair

| Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Notre Dame Right to Life club paired with student government and various service organizations to host a Human Dignity Service Fair on Monday, where students could learn more about service opportunities on and off campus. The event featured service groups such as Camp Kesem, the Center for the Homeless, Dismas House and Hannah’s House, among others.

20170220_HumanDignityFair_RachelO'GradyRachel O'Grady

Junior Michael Krebs, the vice president of community involvement for Notre Dame Right to Life (RTL), said he planned the event to connect various groups whose work relates to the RTL mission.

“What I really wanted to do this semester is expand our reach further than just our club,” he said. “One of the ways I wanted to do that was [by getting] a lot of different organizations involved, not just the ones that we already promote through our email and our website. … There are a lot of off-campus partners who are here to really advertise their service where students can get involved and really be pro-human dignity, like most people are on campus.”

Krebs said he was happy to offer RTL’s broad reach to a number of like-minded groups on campus in order to get more students involved in service.

“We advertise our events to a very wide population, and a lot of these organizations really wanted to get involved in the event so they could really advertise their pro-human dignity mission to more students than they typically reach,” he said. “I love the idea of really bringing together a lot of different organizations and really collaborating because that’s what we’re trying to do a lot more of this year — collaborate with other clubs that we can find common ground with. Service is one of those things.”

Sophomore Andie Tong, student government’s director of social concerns, said RTL’s ability to draw a large number of students to a good cause was what initially prompted student government to get involved with planning and advertising the event.

“I thought it would be a really great partnership just because I know that Right to Life is the biggest non-academic club on campus, so they already have a good audience,” she said. “To be able to open that up to the whole student body and to communicate that part of the pro-life message — that it’s about recognizing the human dignity of people — I think that’s something that a lot of people can agree with.”

Senior Michelle Mann said she appreciated the opportunity to continue highlighting service opportunities throughout the year so students can become more aware of ways to get involved on and off campus.

“It is kind of hard to know what’s going on around campus — and off campus, especially,” she said. “… It’s really important because I think we’re a school where we’re dedicated to trying to make the world a better place. I think doing service work helps keeps you grounded. When you’re on campus life feels so one-track-minded, and there’s kind of one definition of what you should be doing or whatever, but when you do service, it allows you to step out of the bubble a little bit.”

Hosting a service fair during the spring offered students another opportunity to revisit any service organizations they may have been interested in at the beginning of the academic year, Tong said.

“I just really liked that it focuses on human dignity, and kind of gives people an opportunity to meet people from the community and students who are involved with those communities off campus,” she said. “… I know that Notre Dame does a bunch of service fairs, but it’s kind of interesting to do one in the spring when people are starting to change their minds or figure out they have open spots in their schedules.”

Krebs said he fulfilled his goal of attracting a wide variety of students to the event when the food he ordered for the event ran out in five minutes.

“Because I wanted this event to be big, [and] I wanted people to show up, I bought 125 tacos from Flamingo’s for the event,” he said. “I wanted to get as many people involved as possible. So that included student government, I got Campus Ministry’s support, the Center for Social Concerns — which is always involved in service off campus. [I was] really just expanding that net as wide as possible.”

The ultimate goal for the event, Krebs said, was to get more students involved in off-campus service opportunities.

“We love finding ground with people who aren’t necessarily pro-life, and this was a great event to do that,” he said. “Get the organizations who are for the South Bend community, who are helping out in so many great ways off campus in addition to what Right to Life does already, and kind of combining our efforts to really make a difference. I think we’re trying to accomplish that by getting people to sign up for events … and hoping that they get engaged more than just on campus.”

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a senior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, who recently wrapped up her year as Editor-in-Chief. She is a former resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

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