The Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement and its associated student groups usually try to get off campus and into the community as much as possible. In view of the pandemic, community service has looked different this year. Student groups pivoted to remote and socially distant  formats for their service and advocacy work. Some of the work has taken on new forms, while other projects are annual events that have been rethought.

A screenshot of the Habitat for Humanity evictions crisis event.
A screenshot of the Habitat for Humanity Evictions Crisis Event. Salmun showed attendees a data visualization map that Trinity students helped create depicting evictions in CT.

Trinity’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity hasn’t been able to build houses this year, so they switched to a focus on advocacy. The group hosted a virtual lecture on the COVID-19 eviction crisis. Writes Ananya Ravishankar Usharani, president of the chapter,

“We at Trinity Habitat were able to host our first event of the semester, learning about and discussing the COVID-19 eviction crisis with CT Fair Housing Center staff attorney, Salmun Kazerounian. As someone who represents victims of housing discrimination, Salmun shed light on the intersecting issues of race and gender in housing discrimination and eviction cases, using mapped data to help visualize the crisis. Given our platform and commitment to being anti-racist, we believe it to be imperative to actively promote meaningful and sustainable efforts at education and advocacy. Looking forward, we are planning more such events which address housing issues and social justice.”

Students from ACES donated candy to Vernon Street residents to continue the Halloween on Vernon Street tradition. Virtual fun and games were uploaded to their YouTube channel as well.

The Annual Community Event Staff (ACES) pivoted Halloween on Vernon Street,  a 30 year annual campus and community staple, to a remote format this year. “We came into this semester being quite positive that we wouldn’t be able to hold this event at all, but after sitting with it for a few days, we eventually decided that this was something we couldn’t let our community go without,” says Elizabeth Jensen ’22, Co-President of ACES. They set up a YouTube channel  with games, activities, and crafts that was publicized to our community partners. “Given that campus conditions are constantly changing with COVID-19, I am really proud that our club members were so willing to participate and put so much thought into their videos,” writes ACES Co-President Michaela Anton ’22. If you have young ones who are still looking for fun fall games and crafts, their YouTube channel is now a treasure trove. The Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement and ACES made 100 bags of candy that were donated to the residents of Vernon Street (east of Broad Street) for their own Halloween celebration.

Cleaning up a community garden in Hartford.
The Multicultural Affairs Council Community Service Committee participated in a socially distant clean up at a Summer of Solutions garden in Hartford on October 31, 2020.

Students from the Multicultural Affairs Council Community Service Committee participated in a clean-up day at a Summer of Solutions community garden on Zion Street in Hartford. They made great progress in getting the garden cleaned up for winter in a safe and socially distant way.

Finally, the annual Thanksgiving Drive is still happening this year as well. This year’s drive will benefit the Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School (ELAMS) and Hands on Hartford. Trinity community members can donate the cost of one or more food baskets (approximately $60) or provide a basket of non-perishable goods based on the provided shopping list. More information on how to donate can be found here.