Niagara Gazette

Opinion

September 24, 2012

HIGGS: Niagara University: An active ingredient

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

Monica Saltarelli is a campus minister at Niagara where the goal is “to assist all students as they grow in their own faith.” These efforts are accomplished not only during campus life but reaches out into the community to bring student awareness, understanding and service to those living with less. Monica and the students help stock local food pantries and soup kitchens. The adopt families at Christmas; work with the Magdalene Project and St. Vincent de Paul Society and others. There are apparently no walls at Niagara University and Monica serves our community well.

Speaking of no walls at Niagara, the University recently created the Institute for Civic Engagement and my good friend, Dr. David Taylor was asked to lead this effort. The Institute oversees all of the above efforts (with the exception of the Campus Ministry) within the University’s goal to be a good neighbor and a partner with the City of Niagara Falls and others. Dave is always on the go, creating projects for the students and staff to be involved in within the community. The Sustainable Sandals Project, the work with the Niagara Falls Block Club Council in neighborhood graffiti removal and clean up efforts of this organization as well as the NBC, are just samples of the good work performed within our community. He also works with the Youthworks church groups who travel to our city each summer to make small but needed home repairs for resident homeowners who could not otherwise accomplish them. Dave is also a community volunteer outside of his regular duties serving as moderator of Candidates Night forums and other events.

At the top of any organizational chart is the leader and in this case it is the Rev. Joseph Levesque, C.M. He certainly needs no introduction in this column but he certainly needs to be recognized by those of us who reap the benefits of the good works performed by those under his direction at Niagara University. Whether it is vacant lot initiatives, help with a neighborhood playground, Grassroots Leadership Development, CERT and emergency preparedness training, and day to day assistance to those who need it, I have come to find out it is his leadership and sometimes his idea that sets these efforts in motion. So, it is not just about classrooms, lectures and grades. It’s also about community living and giving that is part of the everyday curriculum at Niagara University.

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