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Trinfo.Café

These days, there’s always something happening at Trinfo.Café. This semester, Trinfo.Café continued its student leadership initiative as part of a commitment to establishing Trinfo as a broad use community space. In addition to greeting community guests, teaching computer literacy, and offering drop-in tech help, Trinfo.Café student workers are taking on the task of independently organizing free public events for the Trinity and Hartford community.

This semester they’re set to offer about 10 community events ranging from discussions and lectures, arts and activities, fitness and health, and more. Last week, we caught up with Mary Meza Celis ‘22 who has had lots of experience working at Trinfo Café as a student worker and through the VITA Tax Clinic. Mary’s studies focus on environmental science and psychology (plus she’s taking the Theater & Dance Class “Principles of Body Movement”) so she decided to organize a yoga class at Trinfo to focus on mind-body connections and wellness in the community.

“I feel like people in the community really need a space to do some self-care. A lot of people who come to Trinfo come here to do homework because they’re taking community college classes, or they’re paying their bills, or they’re busy with a lot of stress. So I thought it would be a nice event for people in the community to come and relieve some of that stress– plus I added a component where we practice finding instructional videos online because many people don’t know you can access these for free.” – Mary Meza Celis ‘22

The Trinfo students are encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of someone else — “What’s an event I might like to go to on a Friday night? What’s something that’s both educational, fun, and builds community?”  — and then the dates start going on the calendar. From start to finish, student leaders are deciding on advertising, flyers and posters, icebreakers, food, photos, and other items needed to make their event a success.

“I think Trinfo’s effort of having students organize events where students and people from the community can participate is a positive of the campus. I feel like it can change the college dynamic for the better. Sometimes the campus can feel very exclusive, and for me the [events like this] are like a stress relief because you don’t feel like you’re always in a bubble. I like seeing other people and knowing there are more people I can talk to and more people I can connect with in Hartford.” – Mary Meza Celis ‘22

 

 

Over the past few weeks, Trinfo student leaders also helped to organize TrinfoBingo with S.A.I.L. and LGBTQ+ movie night with Trinity College EROs and the Queer Resource Center. Plus, there are already more events on the calendar for the rest of the semester. Thank you Ari Basche, Carlos Espinosa, Trinfo student workers, and many others for making these events possible.

 

Upcoming events include:

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Community Service

Every week, Trinity College’s Project PACKS (“providing academic change for kindling students”) delivers 40 backpacks filled with food to Hands on Hartford for distribution to students in Hartford who receive free or reduced price lunch. The purpose of the backpacks is to fill the gap for kids who may not have these consistent meals over the weekends.

This week, we caught up with Project PACKS leaders Alison Cofranceso ‘20 and Hadley Santana Queiroz ‘20 to hear about their work organizing the campus to contribute to Project PACKS. Alison and Hadley both agreed that being a contributor to the Backpack Nutrition Program at Hands on Hartford has helped them feel connected in the Hartford community — in fact, they said Trinity is the largest outside contributor to the Backpack program.

“There’s something really tangible about packing 40 backpacks full of food that are going directly to kids in Hartford. We’re the largest outside contributor to the Backpack Nutrition Program, and I think it’s really important not only to be giving back to the community that we’re in, but giving back in a way where we’re relied upon.” – Hadley Santana Quieroz ’20

As Project PACKS leaders, Hadley and Alison have been able to engage many other groups on campus like the Chapel Singers, the CLEO fraternity, and other Greek Organizations. Every Spring, they help to organize a fundraiser called the Chapel Formal where donations are collected and each organization is asked to sponsor a week’s worth of food.

Hadley Santana Quieroz ’20, Bianca Almanzar (Hands on Hartford), and Alison Cofrancesco ’20.

“I’ve had Project PACKs and other jobs and projects that have had me taking the bus and walking around Hartford since my first semester. I love the city more than I expected I would, and since I’m from a college town myself I think those connections are so important. – Alison Cofrancesco ’20

Due to their hard work organizing others on campus, they’re at a fantastic level of volunteers this semester, and they’ve even had campus organizations reach out to them to come back and volunteer their time packing backpacks. Soon they’ll be working on passing leadership to the next class before they graduate. 

Thank you to community partner Bianca Almanzar at Hands on Hartford! To get involved in Project PACKS on campus, contact Alison and Hadley, and to learn more about donating items directly to the Hands on Hartford Backpack Nutrition Program, visit the Hands on Hartford website.

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