The Mott Haven Fridge Partners with CEIP


Fordham’s Cultural Engagement Internship program is partnering with Mott Haven Fridge Network to help bring fresh food to underserved communities. (Courtesy of Mott Haven Fridge for The Fordham Ram)

Fordham’s Cultural Engagement Internships program, which was launched in 2020, gives Fordham students the opportunity to have a paid internship with a local nonprofit or cultural organization.

The program aims to help students gain firsthand experience, broaden their networks and set Jesuit values into action by “partnering with our local community in their educational, cultural, anti-racist, social justice and other important endeavors.”

The program is open to all Rose Hill and Lincoln Center students, and is paid for by Fordham.

There are multiple institutions participating, such as New-York Historical Society, Art on the Ave and Bronx County Historical Society.

While the program originally started with a few organizations, the number has risen to 30, according to Desirae Colvin, director of administration, communication and strategic initiatives at Fordham College at Lincoln Center.

The newest organization to join that list is Mott Haven Fridge Network.

The Bronx-based organization works to bring fresh food to underserved communities, which is delivered via hyper-local hubs.

On Saturdays, its volunteer drivers move an average of 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The program started in the summer of 2020 under the leadership of Laura Auricchio, Ph.D., dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center and Maura Mast, Ph.D., dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill.

“The goal is partly to provide support for organizations, like the Mott Haven Fridge Network, by providing internships where the stipends come from us [Fordham] rather than organizations,” said Colvin.

Another goal is to provide students with equal access to opportunities: “A lot of times, internships come through organic connections that not really every student might have. It really starts to open that door and provide equitable access to these opportunities. For instance, the program stipulates that it is limited to Fordham College at Rose Hill and Fordham College at Lincoln Center. The program stipulates when an organization puts out an internship posting, it is open to all of the students at those two colleges. It is not limited by major or class year. It really is an opportunity that all the students can seek,” said Colvin.

Kiana Lai, FCRH ’22, has been an intern for The New York Hall of Science since August 2021.

“As an institutional development intern, I’m learning a lot about the behind-the-scenes planning and efforts that contribute to making a non-profit institution like The New York Hall of Science successful.

Being able to see the positive impact this institution has on its community due to the great efforts and hard work of the development team is extremely rewarding,” said Lai.

Lai explained that cultural engagement programs help students gain real-world experience and cultural immersion, make connections and have newfound appreciation in unfamiliar fields.

“These programs can also spark new interests and passions in young adults who may not necessarily know what they want to do after college,” said Lai.

Since the program’s launch during the pandemic, it has evolved.

Although it carries the same values and mission, the program has broadened with new types of organizations, said Colvin. The Mott Haven Fridge Network is one example of a new organization, in addition to the cultural institutions the program already collaborates with.

“One thing that we are all very appreciative of is that it really does enable Fordham students to engage with what the university sees as its mission, which is to engage with society and seek knowledge and education in the pursuit of making things better outside of it,” said director Desirae Colvin.