Liz Brilhante ’22
Every year before classes begin, the first-year class participates in the University’s “Day of Service,” where each FYT group serves a local community partner through volunteer work. Due to the pandemic, the class of 2024 stayed closer to campus to perform their projects, but the day of service remained a memorable day, serving as a reminder to the University’s mission that calls its students to work for a world that is harmonious, just, and merciful.
The FYT course that all students take in their first year at Salve Regina requires them to complete two additional service projects throughout the semester. Unfortunately, the pandemic had restricted a multitude of normally occurring service opportunities. In order to combat the dilemma many students faced with finding service opportunities and to nurture the love of service that was invoked in students on the day of service, FYT peer mentor and service advocate Anne-Marie Brilhante organized the University’s first “Day of Service: Part 2.” Brilhante, who serves at the Newport Hospital and the Confetti Foundation, planned the event with the assistance of her sisters Kaitlyn and Elizabeth Brilhante, both who are also FYT peer mentors and service advocates.
In compliance with University’s COVID guidelines and protocols, 90 first-year students in need of community service hours met in the O’Hare Academic Building for Salve Regina University’s first “Day of Service: Part 2.” Students participated in multiple service projects, each benefiting a different community partner. Volunteers created cat teasers and snuffle mats which were donated to the Rhode Island SPCA, tie-dyed pairs of socks that were given to the Boys and Girls Club, and decorated birthday cards for the Confetti Foundation to distribute to children in local hospitals.
While reflecting on the event, Anne-Marie said, “When I saw that many students were having difficulty finding service, I felt empowered to work both as a peer mentor and service advocate to put together a memorable event. Although there was a tremendous amount of preparation and organization required to accommodate 90 students while also ensuring that the COVID guidelines were set to keep everyone safe, the students were extraordinary in their efforts to serve these organizations. It was also quite amazing to get to meet students from other FYT groups as well. With the pandemic isolating most, this service event really depicts that the work of service isn’t masked up too at Salve.”
With the great success of this event, Anne-Marie looks forward to hosting this event next year and shares, “I hope that this will continue as a tradition here at Salve. There’s a Bible passage that reads, ‘Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works;’ illuminating the hearts of all people who see the flame of service burning will also enable others to work for a world that is harmonious, just, and merciful. It’s truly a great honor and privilege to be part of a mercy university that values service, and it’s that light that is worthy of shining from our Salve community, providing a ray of hope to our community partners.”