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Saint Mary’s community gathers for winter walk benefiting St. Margaret’s House

| Monday, February 22, 2021

On Sunday afternoon, over 150 students and faculty at Saint Mary’s participated in a mile-long walk around campus, raising funds for St. Margaret’s House

Social work professional specialist Leonard Sanchez said that the point in the walk was to allow participants to “walk a mile in the shoes” of the women and children who rely on St. Margaret’s House, a local South Bend charity that provides necessary services to women and children, but who might not have transportation there. 

Emma Bacon | The Observer
Saint Mary’s students and staff gathered for a charity walk with funds going toward St. Margaret’s House, a local shelter for women and children.

Director of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) Rebekah Go noted that while the walk is typically in person in downtown South Bend, when the school heard that the walk was going to be virtual due to COVID concerns, they figured that it was a great opportunity to bring the walk to campus.

 “Planning a walk in Covid-times isn’t easy but with so many heads around the table thinking through the logistics, we are excited that over 150 students/faculty/staff have registered for a physically distanced and safe walk,” Go said in an email.

Go also emphasized the involvement of numerous clubs throughout the campus in planning the event.

“This has been a collaboration with a number of departments — with athletics being complete champs with much of the logistics,” she said. “Other campus partners include Campus Ministry, the Social Work Club, Student Nurses Association, and the Center for Spirituality. We could not have done all of this without the overwhelming support of our on-campus partners.”

Athletic director Julie Schroeder-Biek said the athletics department had to adapt to make sure its athletes could participate in the fundraiser.

“Due to COVID, St. Margaret’s annual Winter Walk announced that the walk would be virtual this year,” Schroeder-Biek said in an email. “Our teams have a long history of participating in the Winter Walk; so, we really wanted to provide an opportunity for our student-athletes and coaches to still participate. We joined forces with OCSE and members from many other departments on campus and assisted in planning an on-campus site for the walk. When everything else has been flipped upside down for us, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to get together in-person and walk in solidarity with the women and children of St. Margaret’s House.” 

Associate director of the Center for Spirituality Emily Sipos-Butler said she works with St. Margaret’s in different contexts and wanted to continue showing her support for them.

 “I became involved [in the Winter Walk] because the Center is part of the Mission Division and St. Margaret’s House is a key community partner for our Embody Theology Institute for high school girls,” Sipos-Butler said in an email. “We encouraged the high school students who participated in our virtual retreat last weekend to also participate in the Winter Walk as a way of acting with our campus community in an act of solidarity with women and children in need.” 

Campus Ministry was heavily involved through the work of several faculty members and students, including Le Mans Hall Ministry Assistant (MA) Alexandra Guevara-Stevens, who said that she was asked through her role to become involved in planning the walk, and was also able to help fulfill the service component in her role as an MA through this event.

Go said that the walk was first created by a Holy Cross sister and this year’s walk commemorates her legacy.

“Historically, the winter walk was originally proposed by a Holy Cross sister many years ago as a way to raise funds for and increase understanding of the mission of St. Margaret’s House,” Go said. “Our walk is a way to both honor that Holy Cross sister and to continue our partnership with this amazing organization that serves women and children in our community.” 

Senior Jenna Stengle said she wanted to continue helping St. Margaret’s outside of her responsibilities as a nursing student. 

“For community clinical, we get placed out in the community, and St. Margaret’s House is one of my placements this semester,” Stengle said. “I spend one day a week there getting to know people, doing health education and things like that. So this walk provided me with another opportunity to support St. Margaret’s House and be a part of the community in that way”. 

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