Advocacy at Iona University


Throughout the spring 2024 semester, student Campus Ministers from the Office of Mission & Ministry created and held awareness and advocacy programs on campus to highlight the social justice issues and community needs that each of their service projects address. Each Campus Minister partnered with a local non-profit organization to sponsor a program that educated the Iona community about the various concerns that they and other Iona students work to address.

Highlights included:

  • A workshop on food insecurity that invited the Founder and Owner of New Rochelle Farms grocery store, Jose Filipe, and Brother Kevin Devlin, CFC, the Director of Iona’s Food Pantry, to speak about the ways in which their programs feed those who are food insecure.
  • A panel that invited the Iona community to learn more about mental health concerns faced by college students. The panel included the founder of Here for You Clothing Company, Ellie Haney, who spoke about her own mental health journey and how it inspired her to create her own clothing brand. In addition to the panel, members of the Iona community also had the opportunity to shop and purchase clothing items from the company’s line of products.
  • A presentation by staff from Hearts and Homes for Refugees, a Westchester based non-profit that helps to resettle refugees and their families in Westchester County. The presentation highlighted the growing number of refugees arriving in Westchester, and the various needs that come with resettlement. Students also learned how they can get involved in serving with the organization and advocating for local refugees.
  • A talent show welcoming adults living with Cerebral Palsy to perform at Iona University. This event was part of Cerebral Palsy of Westchester’s (CPW) the Gifted Corner. The Gifted Corner was originally conceived by a group of CPW’s Self-Advocates as part of “We the People Partners in Advocacy: Shifting social perception about disability and the value of difference in our community. CPW’s team chose to use a showcase-styled platform to educate the community about individuals like themselves who are living with disabilities, and to banish some of the negative conceptions. The talent show welcomed members of CPW as well as students and staff from Iona University.

As a follow up to their awareness programs, the Campus Ministers also held a campus-wide Advocacy Week from April 22-26, which provided members of the Iona community with opportunities to directly engage in advocacy initiatives related to the concerns presented through their awareness programs. This week included film screenings and discussions, tabling with information on how to support specific bills and legislation, galleries showcasing art, as well as philanthropic events to support various causes.

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