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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Felician University Constructs New Solar Charging Station on Campus

Felician University‘s campus is going green by adding a solar charging station. The “Coop”, nicknamed by students due to its resemblance to a chicken coop, was the idea of Patrick Dezort, Director of Student Engagement. Dezort, along with several Felician University students, built the solar structure from wood and two solar panels. The solar panel transfers energy to a deep cycle battery, powering an inverter so that students can plug in and charge their devices such as phones and laptops.  The “Coop” is one example of how ACCU member institutions promote sustainability and activities to protect the environment–for more examples, see the ACCU website.

Enter Fairtrade America’s Essay Contest

Are you a current college or university student who believes in the importance of fair trade?  If so, consider entering Fairtrade America’s back-to-school essay contest.

The judges of the contest will be Rick Peyster of Lutheran World Relief, Margarot Conover from Fairtrade America, and Suzi Hiza from Fair Trade Campaigns.  Winners’ essays will be published on Fair Trade Blog site, and the grand prize winner will have a chance to interview Rick Peyster for the blog.  Don’t delay – essays are due by September 15!

Join IFYC and their 9/11 Day Campaign

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) is partnering with 9/11 Day to plan interfaith events to honor the National Day of Service, Remembrance, and Unity.  IFYC has shared several ideas to help campuses plan an event:

  • Organize a service project
  • Host a discussion event.
  • Hold an interfaith vigil or peace walk.
  • Plan a day of random acts of kindness.
  • Attend a local community event.

IFYC has been working with 200 universities and colleges to organize discussions and events that promote interfaith cooperation over the past 15 years.  For those in the New York City and Washington, D.C. area, IFYC will be hosting service projects.  To see more resources for planning events or learn more about the service projects, visit the 9/11 Day Campaign website.

Jesuit College and University Student Body Presidents Sign Joint Statement on Racial Injustice

This spring, the student government leaders of all twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities issued a joint statement regarding racial injustice and higher education.

The statement is a page-long declaration of the student body presidents’ support for students of color in higher education, initiatives to address racial inequalities in Jesuit higher education, and for increased dialogue on the subject. The statement notes that it comes at a crucial time in history for higher education, as students of color and their allies have been demonstrating across the nation, “united in calling for an end to racial injustice within institutions of higher education.”

In the statement, the student body presidents showed that advocating for racial justice flows from the Catholic and Jesuit values that are at the foundation of their institutions. They write, “As students of Jesuit institutions, we often hear phrases such as cura personalis (care for the whole person) and ‘men and women for and with others.’ These phrases challenge us to orient our lives and education toward the greater good -a world free from oppression and marginalization.”

How does your college or university address institutional racial injustice? Let us know!