University of St. Thomas establishes Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The University of St. Thomas has recently developed a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program “to help nonresident aliens file their tax returns.” Student volunteers assist international students enrolled at St. Thomas University with filing their required taxes.

This recently established program provides benefits for both those receiving the assistance and the volunteers. In addition to helping a student in need, volunteers gain technical knowledge on the income tax system in the United States and “develop soft skills by working with real clients from all over the world.” With the establishment of this program, St. Thomas University renews its commitment and support to its international students.

To read more or become involved in VITA visit University of St. Thomas news.

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Edgewood College “Shoots Down” Cancers

Edgewood College’s newest fundraiser “Eagles Shooting Down Cancer” exceeded expectations by raising $7,795 over the course of five days. This fundraiser was hosted by the Edgewood basketball team on behalf of the American Cancer Society. Participants were “asked to donate $1 in order to shoot a free throw and a half-court shot. An anonymous donor pledged to match each $1 donation and then provide $5 bonus for a made free throw and a $100 bonus for a made half-court shot.” Students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni made a total of 495 free throws and 41 half court shots bringing the final total to $7,795.

“Eagles Shooting Down Cancer” began with an initiative six years ago from former University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan and his wife Kelly as a creative way to fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Edgewood men’s basketball head coach Justin Meyer followed their footsteps by hosting “Eagles Shooting Down Cancer” in order to aid those in need.

To hear more about “Eagle shooting Down Cancer”, visit Edgewood College news.

One Million Acts of Kindness visits Saint Vincent College

St. Vincent College welcomed Bob Votruba, founder of One Million Acts of Kindness. According to Votruba, One Million Acts of Kindness is a goal for each person to perform one million acts of kindness in their lifetime. It is meant to be a mindset that is lived out every day of one’s life. Votruba had the desire to create a safer, more inclusive environment and did this in a unique way. He bought a bus and recruited friends and family to help him paint it. From there, he began his journey across the nation visiting different “college campuses across the country hoping to convince as many people as possible about this much needed movement for the world.” Votruba also works with educators to create a curriculum for school children K – 12 in order to help “create programs for teaching kindness in the classroom with emphasis on incorporating into everyday life.”

Vortuba brought his “Kindness Bus” to the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College on October 6. Fred Rogers had a major influence on Votruba’s message so he met with many of the students who are Fred Rogers students to spread his message of kindness for all.

To read more, visit Saint Vincent College news.

St. Scholastica Hosts Advocate for Nuclear Non-Proliferation

The College of St. Scholastica’s Alworth Center for the Study of Peace and Justice hosted Marion Küpker, a leading German peace activist and advocate for nuclear non-proliferation. She is the “international coordinator against nuclear weapons for the German Peace Society of United War Resisters.”

Her speech focused on her work with respect to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, the new UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, and on the 180 nuclear weapons (gravity bombs) still deployed in five European countries. She is “Hamburg’s international coordinator on nuclear weapons for the German Peace Society of United War Resisters, the country’s oldest anti-war organization.” Küpker’s work on direct non-violence is a mission supported by St. Scholastica, which advocates for peaceful resolution to conflict. Hosting Küpker reflects the university mission of providing “intellectual and moral preparation for responsible living and meaningful work.”

To read more click here.

University of Mary Day of Service Proof of University Mission

University of Mary Day of Service has grown to become the largest one-day volunteer event in the entire state of North Dakota. 1,000 students, faculty, staff, and some Benedictine sisters came out on October 11th to serve the Bismarck community. Day of Service began three years ago as a way “to not just serve one day, but rather to be a kickoff to a year and a lifetime of service and build connections with organizations that are in need of volunteers throughout the year.”

Volunteers spent the day shoveling debris, installing fence at a national park, cleaning up the zoo, wrapping tress to protect from winter critters, cleaning ditches through the city, preparing meals for those underserved, and many other services. The university community places tremendous value on “becoming servant leaders of moral courage, providing a culture grounded in service, [and] fostering a great capacity to pour themselves out in loving service to others.” The Day of Service is putting into action the university’s mission of serving those in need.

To hear more about University of Mary Day of Service, click here.

Register for the 18th Annual Global Youth Justice Program!

Registration has opened for the 18th Annual Global Youth Justice Program. This year’s Program will be from January 23-25, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Global Youth Justice, Inc. “champions volunteer-driven strategies and low-cost innovations which alleviate some of the world’s more pressing and costly societal problems. Global Youth Justice strives to improve the quality of life for humans through reducing high juvenile crime rates and historic-high incarceration rates of adults locally and globally.”

This three day program “will harness positive peer pressure and utilize it in a peer judgement setting to help address the anti-social, delinquent, and criminal behavior of youthful offenders.” If this is a program you would like to attend, more information can be found on the Global Youth Justice, Inc. webpage.

Saint Michael’s College Combats Hate with Kindness

The Martin Luther King Jr. Society of Saint Michael’s College in Vermont hosted speaker Arno Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate. Michaelis was brought to campus to share his story and educate the campus on hate and how to combat it. Michaelis is a former member of a white power skinhead group and front man for the hate band Centurion. Michaelis re-called the chain of events that led him to this lifestyle, including his childhood and desire to be hated, that drew him to become a neo-Nazi. Growing up with an alcoholic father, living in a miserable home environment, pushing everyone that loved him away, becoming a school bully, street fighting, vandalism and alcohol, were all significant factors that lead him to white supremacy. According to Michaelis, hate became his perpetual state of mind and he received this immense high when people hated him.

The turning point for Michaelis was an encounter with one of his coworkers. Michaelis recalls; “I was this miserable, pathetic, hungover fool, and I’m starving… and one of the black guys at work was sitting down, and he has his lunch… and he’s got a sandwich that he’s cut in half, and he sees me there in the corner and he’s like ‘hey, skinhead, you want half this sandwich?” Michaelis recalls how it was the kindness of those who forced him to face his own hypocrisy that led to him to be freed from hate. Michaelis now works with “the organization Serve 2 Unite, which is dedicated to helping young people create inclusive, safe, and peaceful communities. He travels across the country sharing his story in an effort to combat the kind of hate he once spread.”

To read more about Arno Michaelis’s speech, please view Saint Michael’s College news.