by: Clare Pressimone ’19

Clare Pressimone, an IPED Salesian Fellow, received support through IPED Summer Funding to accompany two undergraduate students to Catholic Relief Services’ Student Ambassador Leaders Together (SALT) Summit held at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD from July 16-18. Clare, formerly the President of the CRS Student Ambassador chapter at her alma mater, Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania, joined Fordham University sophomores Kayla Auza and Noah Sherer at the three-day conference networking with nearly 60 universities and colleges from across the country. They gathered information and ideas on how to begin a CRS Student Ambassador group on Fordham University.

CRS Student Ambassadors operate as the education and advocacy arm of Catholic Relief Services – the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States – on college and university campuses. Ambassadors orchestrate programming throughout the school year, both within the campus community and the greater local community, striving to encourage individuals to engage in important issues such as climate change, migration and human trafficking, food insecurity and poverty. Ambassadors might educate individuals on the following: how to shop more ethically; reducing one’s impact on the climate; building knowledge and skills to contact members of Congress to speak up on behalf of marginalized communities; acting in solidarity with those who face food insecurity through sharing simple meals, etc. It is the role of the Ambassadors to help members of the community better understand why international issues which effect the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized people around the world must become issues on which we, as members of the global community, need to act.

Some members of the newly formed CRS Student Ambassadors chapter at Fordham University

At the CRS SALT Summit, Clare, Kayla and Noah gained greater insight into how the objectives of CRS Student Ambassadors might be implemented at Fordham. The first two days were filled with informational sessions, both for students and advisors, providing insight into the importance of the CRS Student Ambassadors to the agency’s work, along with how CRS might provide materials, trainings and overall support to all of the Ambassadors’ endeavors on their campuses. The sessions were led by CRS staff and university partners. These meetings were held both on Loyola’s campus and at CRS Headquarters.

Clare, Kayla and Noah at the CRS SALT Summit

The final day of the conference was spent on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. After receiving practical advocacy training and having studied the issues, Kayla, Noah and their fellow students from other New York area schools met with their members of Congress to speak up on behalf of those most in need.

Students from Fordham University, St. John’s University, Manhattan College and Mount St. Mary College with a member of Senator Chuck Schumer’s staff.

Clare is providing her experience as an alumna of the CRS Student Ambassador program to help guide and promote the new Ambassador group at Fordham. She is serving as the group’s advisor as it begins its programming through the support of the IPED Department. The beginning of the fall 2018 semester began with inviting and recruiting other undergraduate students to join in the important efforts of the CRS Student Ambassadors. It is exciting to see this group getting off the ground and empowering the Fordham community to act on behalf of those most in need around the world. Keep an eye out for how you can get involved in the work of CRS at Fordham!