Fordham’s CCEL Hosts Go! Week to Highlight Programs


The Go! Bronx Is Blooming project was one of the Go! teams to test out a new hybrid format during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy of Emma Paolini)

On Wednesday, April 28, the Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) will host a symposium showcasing the projects of the Global Outreach Club, otherwise known as GO!
The symposium includes presentations of the GO! members’ projects. These presentations showcase all that the GO! Leaders and members have learned and accomplished throughout the year.
“Right now, there are a few GO! projects running,” explained Emma Paolini, FCRH ’21, one of the student leaders of GO! Bronx is Blooming. “[There are] two in-person projects, which are GO! NYC Housing and GO! NYC Bronx is Blooming. The virtual projects are GO! Dominican Republic, GO! Chicago (focused on the intersection of racial justice and LGBT rights) and GO! El Salvador.”
These projects will be presented and showcased during the CCEL symposium on Wednesday, said Paolini.
The symposium is GO!’s main event; however, it is not the only one that it has hosted through the year.
“Additional events that we have had have been fundraising events and instagram campaigns aimed at raising money for charities that focus on the issues that our project aims to address,” said Izzy Navia, FCRH ’24, and a member of GO! Chicago, “We have also had Gosials, or Go socials where our group members have relaxed and gotten to know each other in a non formal setting.”
This year, GO! had to adapt its typical format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the last two semesters, project leaders have held weekly meetings with participants on Zoom rather than in person. More significantly, the travel component of GO! projects has been temporarily paused. Members working on projects not based in New York City would normally travel to where the project is based.
“In a typical year, we would prepare a project and then spend around a week actually going to the location and implementing what we had planned,” said Kari White FCRH ’24, a member of GO!. “While there, we would learn from the people with whom we were working. This year, however, we couldn’t do that. So, instead, we met with the same people we would have been working with over Zoom.”
Even though GO! members were unable to travel this year, the projects were still meaningful and impacted the creators. In fact, some members even felt that there were benefits to having an online year. One project that was completely virtual was GO! Chicago.
“I really feel as though it has been an empowering experience regardless [of being able to travel to Chicago]. We have had all of the speakers we would usually see in person in Chicago on zoom and if anything, the continued virtual meetings have given us more time to get to know each other over the course of 12 weeks versus a one week in person event,” said Navia.
Not being able to travel forced GO! to rethink the way that they prepared for their symposium as well. Without overnight trips, GO! leaders had to restructure the entire club.
“The pandemic also means that we can’t have overnight trips, so instead of having meetings leading up to one-week-long engagement at the end of the semester, we’ve had multiple day trip engagements throughout the semester,” explained Paolini. “This is definitely an adjustment, but I think the benefit of doing things this way is it gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we’re doing along the way and build a sustainable relationship with our community partner.”
Despite the challenges, GO! still managed to make an impact on their members, both through the community created with other Fordham students as well as the projects they do, said White.
“[Being in GO! has] been such a terrific experience, I’ve met the best people, and I’ve learned so much about the world that we live in,” she said. “I feel like I’ve become a better person just from our weekly discussions.”
If students are interested in future GO! projects, they can attend the symposium and can find more information on the official Fordham website.