Campus Ministry Partners with The Bronx is Blooming


75 volunteers walked to Mosholu Park to help with the event. (Courtesy of Owen Sibal for The Fordham Ram)

Campus Ministry partnered with The Bronx is Blooming for an Ignatian Day of Service on Sept. 24. The event was mainly composed of the Pedro Arrupe Volunteers, but many other campus groups also participated, such as CCEL, West Wing in O’Hare and Manresa Scholars.

According to Carol Gibney, director of the Office of Campus Ministry Solidarity and Leadership, the Pedro Arrupe Volunteers (PAV) is a student-led multi-faith organization, where students are provided with opportunities to engage with various partners.

Pedro Arrupe, S.J. was part of the Society of Jesus. He was known for his commitment to social justice and helping others, which is where the volunteers get their name from. He is known for his phrase “Men and Women for others.”

“He dedicated his life in service to others, and he is the one who really did move the Jesuits into a direction of faith and service and justice,” said Gibney.

According to the Fordham website, PAV’s goals include “community engagement; nurturing and sustaining relationships between the Fordham community and our neighbors in the Bronx and NYC.”

The Bronx is Blooming is a Bronx-based nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “environmental stewardship, community building and youth leadership development.” In the past, other Fordham groups have also partnered with them.

Campus Ministry partnered with The Bronx is Blooming because of their similar values. “Their mission aligns with what Fordham’s mission is,” said Gibney.

“It is about raising awareness for community members and being good stewards of the land. The Bronx [has] the largest swath of parks per capita more than all other boroughs.”

“With cuts in city budgets, they are filling a gap,” said Gibney. “This organization really helps make this community more beautiful and a pleasant place to be living in.”

75 students volunteered on Saturday. (Courtesy of Owen Sibal for The Fordham Ram)

On Saturday, 75 Fordham volunteers walked from campus to Mosholu Park. They worked on cleaning, planting trees, mulching and getting rid of invasive plants.

“The trees will be covered soon, and in the springtime, hopefully, they will take root. We want the kids and the elders in the community to have lots of trees and oxygen and birds and all the things the great outdoors provide,” said Gibney.

Marlaina Cirone, FCRH ’24, first participated in The Bronx is Blooming service project three years ago when she was a freshman in the Manresa program. “Since then, I have joined Campus Ministry’s PAV and got the opportunity to captain this Saturday’s project, where we led over 70 volunteers to Mosholu park,” said Cirone.

“Bronx is Blooming is an important local nonprofit that helps to care for parks in the Bronx that don’t nearly get enough funding and resources as they should,” said Cirone, “It was great to see Fordham students out in our community to learn how small efforts like caring for trees can have far-reaching effects on our environment.”

Students worked on cleaning, mulching and more in Mosholu Park. (Courtesy of Owen Sibal for The Fordham Ram)

Michela Fahy, FCRH ’23, also helped run Saturday’s event by working to winterize the trees at Mosholu Park by removing dead branches and insulating them.

“This community partner is so important as the Bronx is New York City’s greenest borough, it is a constant effort to maintain it for the community. It is a privilege to be able to spend time in the community, working to maintain the park’s beauty while also getting to form stronger connections between fellow students,” said Fahy.

Overall, Gibney said that she hopes students were able to take away a sense of community and meet other people interested in environmental justice. “They might meet people that will spark interest in topics that they might be interested in deepening their understanding of.”