Annual Service Events
Beyond the Belle
Beyond the Belle, formerly known as College Academy of Tutoring program, was formed in 2006 to help meet the needs of students in the South Bend area. The program provides Saint Mary's with two opportunities to work with school-aged students. Students are paired with a South Bend Community Title 1 school in the roles of tutors, teacher's assistants, and special program coordinators. Students will meet with the children in an after-school program and tutor in small groups or one-on-one to work with them on their reading comprehension skills, math skills, help them with their homework, and also serve as mentors.
Service Saturday events take place monthly during the academic year and provides our students opportunities to give back to various local community partners. These easy-access projects offer opportunities for students to engage with our local residents and nonprofit partners and help meet the needs of our community. Each event will be completed with a meal and reflection session that allows student discuss the value of service and the impact it leaves on the community.
The South Bend Medical Foundation comes to Saint Mary's College twice per semester and hosts a blood drive. These drives happen from 9am-3pm and are located in the Student Center. Volunteers are needed to help operate the sign-up tables in Student Center Atrium for 1-hour shifts between 11AM-1PM a few days prior to the blood drive. Volunteers are also needed on the day of the drives to monitor participants of the drive after they donate and offer nourishments.
Food Justice Week
Saint Mary's Food Justice Week builds campus engagement in the pursuit to increase awareness of sustainable food, food justice
issues, and access to quality food for all. A collaboration of events occurs throughout the week to encourage students, faculty, and staff to become involved. Our residence halls and campus constituencies collaborate on a food drive. They collect non-perishable food items to benefit Mother Pauline's Pantry where students in need can access food. This year, we sold T-shirts and donated the profits to our community partner, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. We also collaborated with athletics and our basketball team to trade donated food for entry into our games for the first time ever last fall! This directly impacts our neighbors in the South Bend community, as the rate of food
insecurity in northern Indiana is 17%. In the past, we have been able to collect 1,500 pounds of food, and we hope to donate even more each year! In addition to our other efforts, we co-host Food Hunger Banquet with Student Diversity Board. During the banquet, participants are randomly given meals ranging in quality in order to give them an opportunity to experience what food insecurity might feel like.
Every year, the Saint Mary's Community hosts an average of 20 families in our Adopt-A-Family program. Departments and clubs on campus are able to "adopt" families in need and buy and wrap gifts for them. The OCSE runs this large program. At the OCSE, we work through the logistics, assign families to members of the Saint Mary's Community, organize presents, and ensure each family gets an equal amount of presents. This program is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, and make the holidays brighter to families in need!
Rebuilding Together is a nation-wide organization that revitalizes homes of the elderly, disabled, veterans, and those in need. Rebuilding Together has a St. Joseph county chapter, which focuses on the neighborhoods in South Bend. Saint Mary's sponsors the restoration of a home in the South Bend community, that students get to assist in fixing up. Annually, Saint Mary's participates in Rebuilding Together's Community Day, which is a one-day nation-wide community service event. Through the OCSE, students volunteer to assist us in fixing up the homes and join Rebuilding Together for a day of service. These activities involve painting, gardening, cleaning, and whatever else the house needs. Saint Mary's students spend the day getting to know the South Bend neighborhoods and the neighbors, and enjoy a day serving with their Belles.
Back the Bend
Back the Bend is an annual service event where Saint Mary’s College partners with the South Bend community and other local colleges and universities. Each spring, students continue to complete projects during this one-day event for local organizations and neighborhoods. OCSE is committed to Back the Bend by participating on the planning committee and coordinating logistics for student to serve and enjoy their day. Projects work on revitalizing neighborhoods, local parks and community gardens.