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Go New Ro Experience Nurtures Student's Connection to Their Community

New Rochelle, NY (July 9, 2015) Iona College welcomed incoming first-year students to campus for the sixth annual Iona in Mission: Go New Ro, which is a service and leadership experience. The theme of Go New Ro is “GPS: Growth, Purpose, and Service.”  Students learn about the two feet of social justice (direct service and advocacy) while becoming acclimated with their new city, New Rochelle, and Iona’s campus community.

This year twenty incoming students, three returning student leaders, and three professional staff from the Offices of Mission and Ministry, Student Development, and Off-Campus and Commuter Services participated in the Go New Ro experience.

During Go New Ro 2015 students learned about important social justice issues including hunger and homelessness in New Rochelle and Westchester Country, environmental justice and care for the Earth, and issues facing elder adults.  The team participated in service projects around these topics by partnering with the following agencies: Trinity St. Paul’s Brown Bag Lunch Program (New Rochelle), the Sheldrake Environmental Center (Larchmont) and St. Joseph’s Care Facility for retired Christian Brothers.

“An essential characteristic of the Edmund Rice story is the desire and ability to live in relationship with people made poor and marginalized,” said Stephen Hill, the Coordinator of Iona in Mission. “To begin this process, we engage our Go New Ro students in service projects within the local community to nudge them out of their comfort zones both physically and intellectually. Our hope is to help produce students who respond boldly to the world’s suffering and needs with presence and compassion, so that we all may liberated from exclusion and injustice. This is what Edmund Rice did in Ireland, what the Christian Brothers continue to do around the world, and what our students are called to do.”

Direct service, however, is just one piece of this program. Students also developed their leadership skills and discussed leadership styles with returning students leaders, the North American Edmund Rice Christian Brothers Province Leader and Iona College Board of Trustee member, Br. Kevin Griffith, and with Jared Rice, New Rochelle City Councilman.

Finally, reflection is an essential element of Iona in Mission: Go New Ro. Students were able to synthesize what they experienced and learned at their service sites with what they learned about leadership and advocacy. They also integrated what they learned about New Rochelle and Iona’s strong mission and tradition to better understand their role as citizens of a greater world…who are called to move the world toward justice.

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