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Professor Lance Skidmore (left) and student Nicholette Davis (right) helped plant trees in the area around the Doheny campus.

Serving our Neighbors

On Saturday, March 17, Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) hosted its first annual “Invitation to Serve,” a campus-wide event joining students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the College in a day of service. More than 50 volunteers partnered with St. Joseph Center in Santa Monica, the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles, and Million Trees LA to make a difference in the community.

“Mount students regularly participate in service through the College’s Office of Community Engagement and Campus Ministry,” said Bernadette Robert, MSMU’s assistant vice president of student affairs. “But rarely do they get the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty, staff, and alums."

The volunteers were given a choice of three activities: painting the infant-toddler room at the St. Joseph Center, serving lunch at the Midnight Mission, or planting trees in the neighborhoods surrounding the College’s downtown Doheny Campus.

Roberta M. Allen, a 1964 Mount alum, decided to participate because she first became involved in service as a student at Mount St. Mary’s. “In college, I was involved in a lot of volunteer work, like the Red Cross,” said Allen, who brought along her husband, Chris, to help prepare lunch at the mission. “Service is something I believe in.”

For others, the “Invitation to Service” was an opportunity to try something new. “I’ve always worked with elderly and disabled people,” said Brigette Lizarraras, a 2000 Mount alum who also chose to serve at the mission. “But I have never worked with the homeless population. I wanted to participate because I thought I would be challenged.”

Student Sally Pereira decided to “help fight global warming” by planting trees. She and almost a dozen other people worked with staff from the Korean Youth and Community Center—a group that plants trees for the city’s Million Trees LA project—to plant four varieties of saplings in front of homes around the Mount’s Doheny Campus: Evergreen Pears, Camphors, Jacarandas, and Golden Medallions.

“This was a great idea,” added 1991 Mount alum Joanie Calhoun. “Since I’ve left college, service is more important to me than ever, so I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Mount Saint Mary’s University currently works with 85 different community partners to serve people and communities all across the greater Los Angeles area.

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