Community Service

Get Involved with Community Service Student Organizations this Fall

We asked student leaders in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement to tell us more about their community engagement work and why new students should get involved. Learn more about the leaders and student organizations below. Reach out to any of these student leaders for more information on getting involved. Visit the Community Service and Civic Engagement website to learn more about other student organizations.

Elizabeth Schoemer ’24 and Olivia Brado ‘24 – Co Presidents of A.C.E.S.

What organization(s) are you involved with in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement? How and when did you first get involved?
Elizabeth (bottom right) and Olivia (bottom left) at Halloween on Vernon Street in 2021

We are the co-presidents of the Annual Community Event Staff, more often referred to as A.C.E.S.  Entering Trinity as first-years during the pandemic, involvement in campus clubs and activities was a reflection of the unconventional nature of the times.  By chance, in an online involvement fair together (we were roommates), we stumbled across A.C.E.S. in an attempt to stay connected, albeit through Zoom, with the Trinity community.  From making Halloween themed videos for local children to socially distanced park clean ups, A.C.E.S. from day one provided an outlet to connect with my peers and Hartford despite the adversities posed by COVID.

What has been your favorite part of working with the organization?

Elizabeth – By far my favorite part of A.C.E.S. is Halloween on Vernon.  For those unfamiliar, Halloween on Vernon has been connecting Trinity to the greater Hartford community since 1990, promoting safe fun for local children on the beloved holiday.  In 2020, it was shifted to a virtual platform. Last year saw the re-invigoration of the program as cultural houses and Greek life welcomed Hartford residents to participate in activities such as pumpkin decorating and yard games. Partaking in Halloween on Vernon has been a defining part of my Trinity experience, as I have gotten the opportunity to collaborate with so many individuals to continue such an inspiring and worthwhile tradition.

Olivia – My favorite event is also Halloween on Vernon. As Elizabeth said, it is a long-standing tradition that keeps Trinity and its students connected with the community in Frog Hollow and surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, it is so fun to see all the cute costumes and happy faces that come to this event! It’s truly such a fun day and so awesome to see all the moving parts come together to celebrate the holiday.

How has your involvement enhanced your education at Trinity?

Elizabeth – True to the mission of Trinity as a liberal arts college in an urban setting, A.C.E.S. has provided transformative experiences beyond the classroom that engage with Trinity’s place in Hartford.  Community service, especially through A.C.E.S., provides meaningful context for conversations of race, culture and community often brought forward in lectures and seminars.  Additionally, without A.C.E.S. I never would have found the Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program (J-Z AMP), an after-school mentoring program for eighth graders at HMTCA, which allowed me to continue to grow my passion for education.

Olivia – A.C.E.S. was one of the first clubs I joined as a freshman on Trinity’s campus, and for me it is still one of the clubs that makes me feel most genuinely connected with other Trinity students. Beyond that, it is obvious to all its members that A.C.E.S. and our events have a genuine positive impact on our community. As most (if not all) colleges tend to have tense relationships with the communities that surround them, it is relieving to be able to work in tandem with the communities surrounding Trinity and try to benefit not just those living on the campus but also living around it. Having never been to Hartford before committing to Trinity, I consider myself lucky to have so quickly been able to find a way to connect with the area and the people who live here.

Why should other students consider joining your organization? What could they look forward to participating in this year?

A.C.E.S. is a welcoming group of people all motivated to plan events for the benefit of the Hartford community.  This year we look forward to continuing many of our longstanding traditions including Halloween on Vernon, Thanksgiving Baskets, Sponsor-a-Snowman, and Soup-er Bowl.  For more information, please feel free to contact me (elizabeth.schoemer@trincoll.edu), Olivia Brado (olivia.brado@trincoll.edu), Joe Barber (joe.barber@trincoll.edu) or connect with A.C.E.S. on Instagram at aces.trincoll.  Students are also encouraged to attend our weekly meetings on Monday evenings in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement.

Anna Grant-Bolton ‘25 – Trinity Homelessness Project

What organization(s) are you involved with in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement? How and when did you first get involved?
Anna Grant-Bolton ’25

I am involved in Trinity Homelessness Project (THP). I first got involved in THP last year, after hearing about the important work they were doing and deciding to join one of the weekly meetings.

What has been your favorite part of working with the organization?

My favorite part of working with THP has been connecting with a group of students who are also passionate about social justice and housing insecurity, and plugging into the incredible justice work already being done in Hartford.

How has your involvement enhanced your education at Trinity?

Being involved in community engagement work has really grounded my learning here at Trinity. Being involved in THP provides me practical engagement in human rights work while learning from those most affected, which I think is a critical complement to classroom learning.

Why should other students consider joining your organization? What could they look forward to participating in this year?
Trinity Homelessness Project members with Officer Jimmy Barrett, who conducts outreach to unhoused people in Hartford

So many reasons! THP allows students to get connected to a community that is working to advance justice in Hartford in a hands-on way. It is also a great way to get connected to Hartford, our home for (at least) four years, and meet so many incredible community members. You can look forward to planning education events, food donation deliveries, volunteering events with local organizations, and much more!!

Anything else you’d like to share?

It’s never too late to get involved! Our weekly meetings are quick and fun, come stop by and say hello! 🙂

 

Christina Alcaro ‘23 – Friends of MSF (Doctors Without Borders)

What organization(s) are you involved with in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement? How and when did you first get involved?
Christina Alcaro ’23

I am involved in Trinity’s Chapter of Friends of MSF (Doctors Without Borders). I have been involved with this organization since my sophomore year as an e-board member when I first began attending meetings and getting involved in the community outreach projects.

What has been your favorite part of working with the organization?

My favorite part of working with this organization is getting the opportunity to be involved in community outreach projects with other Trinity students while simultaneously being involved with the local medical and healthcare communities. We run blood drives at Trinity College and send thank you cards to local healthcare workers during holidays. It has been an invaluable experience being part of this organization and seeing how much of an impact our efforts have made on others. It is an incredible organization that couples community outreach with interests in medicine.

How has your involvement enhanced your education at Trinity?

My involvement in this organization has enhanced my education at Trinity by allowing me to strengthen relationships with my peers that share common interests in medicine and community outreach as we work together in making successful projects come to life (like the blood drive), while also confirming my desire to be involved in medicine and community service post-grad. This organization has provided a surge of motivation throughout my time here at Trinity beyond the academic side of education.

Why should other students consider joining your organization? What could they look forward to participating in this year?

Other students who are interested in community outreach through a global medical/healthcare approach should highly consider joining this organization so that they can gain experience in collaborating with others to make our projects and events possible. You would be helping support the local community through blood drives, community garden/park clean-ups, sending thank you cards to local healthcare workers, and many more outreach projects. It is a fantastic way to get involved in the community, while also gaining experience in community outreach and broadening the scope of ways to help out and be involved indirectly in the medical field.

Jenna Brustad ‘25 – Co-President of JELLO

What organization(s) are you involved with in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement? How and when did you first get involved?

I am one of the co-presidents of JELLO.  JELLO is a community outreach organization that allows students to give back to the community in Hartford by working with service groups throughout the Hartford area. We travel to various different organizations throughout Hartford on Saturdays and work at a food pantry on Thursdays. I first got involved last year​ at one of the Service Saturday events when we volunteered at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. It truly was such a valuable experience – I interacted with the community, including many local artists, and was able to help in a way I never had before. Ever since then I have been working with JELLO all over the Hartford area.

What has been your favorite part of working with the organization?

My favorite part of working with JELLO has been the work we do on Service Saturdays. There are so many different and unique experiences each Saturday. I love how we are able to help out at the Wadsworth, at Habitat for Humanity, and with other service groups. The work we do with every service group is different and we meet a lot of new people that way. Having the chance to interact with, work with and learn from different people is so valuable and definitely my favorite part about be a part of JELLO.

How has your involvement enhanced your education at Trinity?
Volunteering at the Wadsworth Second Saturday for Families, November 2021

Volunteering with JELLO has greatly enhanced my Trinity experience in many different ways. It has allowed me to connect with other students at Trinity and members of the Hartford community. Being a part of this community has helped me gain new perspectives and has taught me just as much as I learn from my courses at Trinity.

Why should other students consider joining your organization? What could they look forward to participating in this year?

Students who are looking to join JELLO really have a lot to look forward to. We have so many fun and unique opportunities to serve the Hartford community. We work with the Wadsworth, with Places of Grace Food Pantry and provide so many different opportunities that you can always find a way to help. We are always looking for new members and would love to have anyone become a part of JELLO.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I would just like to add what a privilege it is to be able to work with so many different organizations throughout Hartford and if you ever have the opportunity to be a part of any of the great organizations through the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, you should take advantage of it.

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