Posted: Wednesday Mar 28, 2012
March 28, 2012
A group of Saint Vincent College students interested in building a stronger sense of community on campus today launched an initiative they call The One.
Working in conjunction with the offices of student affairs and multicultural and international student life, the students are inviting the entire campus to take part in a variety of activities designed to enhance the already strong sense of community. “While Saint Vincent is well known for its community life rooted in its Benedictine values, this initiative will work to rekindle the individual flames of growth, understanding, and respect,” student spokespersons Mercedes Guilford and Maria Salvatori said. “Our goal is to create awareness and to discuss issues such as sexual violence, harassment, racism, prejudice and ignorance. We plan to do this by training student leader groups as well as sports team leaders and any department that works directly with the student body.”
“Since The One strives to bring all of the Saint Vincent community together, it is essential that we include and encourage all parts of the College for support,” they continued. “We will begin marketing for this initiative today with a launch party in the Robert S. Carey Student Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring talks, entertainment, displays, food and giveaways.”
The concept for the campaign was developed by Amanda Jaber and Michael Barkowski last year and was continued by Ms. Guilford, Ms. Salvatori, Deven Gross, Jocelyn Matenje, Karla Romero and Carl Jeune this year. Deanna Wicks and Bob Baum of the office of student affairs and Jeff Mallory of the office of multicultural and international student life are serving as advisors.
The Saint Vincent community has been teased with mysterious posters asking, “are you the one?” for weeks but the specific intention was kept a secret until it was unveiled today. Representatives of the Student Government Association, Activities Programming Board, clubs, cheerleaders, pep band, dance team and other organizations which are in touch with students were all involved.
A specially-designed t-shirt and bracelet were also unveiled today.
“Our plan is to keep people entertained while we are giving them information and motivation,” they explained.
Looking ahead, they are planning to hold regular monthly events they have dubbed One Day Monday to keep the discussion and effort moving forward. “Success will not come in one day,” they admitted. “But, in the long run we would like to see our student body get stronger together, stand up for one another and take care of one another. We want students to be more aware of their actions and how they treat one another.”
“This effort is about everyone in our community,” they concluded. “It’s not about leaving anyone out. It’s about every single student and caring for each student, accepting the differences and bringing them together. You can accept differences and still be friends and care about them because that is what we are made to do.”
Ms. Salvatori is a senior business administration major from the South Hills of Pittsburgh. She is also active in Women in Business, Habitat for Humanity, Delta Mu Delta business honor society, Campus Ministry, has participated in the honors program and been named to the dean’s list. A 2008 graduate of Seton LaSalle High School, she is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dominic Salvatori. After she completes her undergraduate studies, she plans to either work in human resources, higher education administration or pursue the study of law. She is a member of Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin R.C. Church in White Hall.
Ms. Guilford is a junior middle school education major with a mathematics concentration. A prefect in the Saint Benedict residence hall, she is involved in Women in Business, Colleges Against Cancer, Activities Programming Board, Multicultural Student Coalition, Alpha Phi Omega and varsity lacrosse. A 2009 graduate of Mount Olive High School in Budd Lake, New Jersey, she is also completing work on a book of poetry, Lyrics of Life, which she hopes to have published this summer, and forming a non-profit organization called Moving Forward that will provide supplemental activities for inner city youths. She is the daughter of Demetris Guilford of Newark and plans to become a school superintendent after she completes her degree at Saint Vincent. She is a member of Living Waters Ministries, a non-denomination church.
“Saint Vincent College really does include everyone and accept everyone,” they concluded. “That is what we like about this school. And that is why The One initiative is so perfect because it embodies everything that the school already is. It is not something we have to start.”
Photo: Maria Salvatori and Mercedes Guilford
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