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Community Engagement Newsletter

December 11, 2017

In This Issue:


School of Law Promotes Social Justice, Collaborative Service

Barry and St. Thomas Join Forces to Demand Justice for Farmworkers

Brianna Olive Supports Women’s Breast and Heart Initiative

Categories of Awards Include Educator, Service-Learning Faculty

Students Support Thanksgiving Celebration with Refugees

Organization Thanks University for Supporting Hygiene Program

Student Leader Attends Newman Civic Fellows Conference



School of Law Promotes Social Justice, Collaborative Service


Programs involving four clinics, an environmental justice initiative, and tax-filing assistance to low-income community members demonstrate how Barry University’s Dwayne O. AndreasSchool of Law is meeting long-standing institutional commitments.


Through the clinical programs, Barry Law puts much of its emphasis on the university’s core commitments of social justice and collaborative service, said Lee Schinasi, associate professor and director of clinical programs.


Introducing the School of Law presentation at Barry’s Core Commitments Luncheon recently, Schinasi said clinical education was the primary way the school lives out its mission and meets the university’s core commitments. Clinical education, he said, involves in-house clinics, externships, and partnerships.


Orlando-based Barry Law runs clinics whose work is focused on immigration, juvenile defense, environmental and earth law, and collaborative family law.


Kate Aschenbrenner-Rodriguez, assistant professor and director of the Immigration Clinic, said students work on deportation, asylum, and reunification cases. They provide representation that clients usually cannot afford and therefore would not have, she explained.


Katherine Puzone, associate professor and director of the Juvenile Defense Clinic, said the clinic has shown clients that “they are destined for more than poverty and prison.”


The Environmental and Earth Law Clinic has developed an excellent partnership with the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. According to Assistant Professor and Clinic Director Rachel Deming, students and faculty support an agenda provided by the community partner.


University administrators, faculty, staff, and students attending the luncheon also learned about the Center for Earth Jurisprudence and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA.


Margaret Stewart, a Barry alumna who serves as director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, spoke briefly about the center’s role in promoting law and policy that support environmental justice for the benefit of all members of the earth community.


Founded by Sister Pat Siemen, OP, the current prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The Center was represented at the Fourth International Rights of Nature Tribunal, in Bonn, Germany, last month.


Speaking about VITA, Associate Professor Frank Schiavo, the director, noted that this program helps low-income community members to file their taxes. The students have assisted hundreds of eligible individuals and families in the preparation of accurate tax returns, he said.


Without this service, Schiavo added, VITA’s clients would need to file their taxes on their own or pay for private, third-party tax preparation services, which many can hardly afford.


Professor Leticia Diaz is dean of Barry’s School of Law, which is located in Orlando.


The annual Core Commitments Luncheon is a highlight of Barry’s Founders Week in November. The main events take place on Barry’s main campus in MiamiShores.



Barry and St. Thomas Join Forces to Demand Justice for Farmworkers


Barry and St. Thomas students took to the streets recently to support farmworkers and their families. The demonstration was part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Harvest without Violence campaign to draw attention to the abuses women face in Florida’s fields.


More than 175 students, farmworkers and family members, and other concerned community members took part in the march in an area north of downtown Miami. The bulk of the demonstrators came from Barry and St. Thomas, with more than 70 participants from each university.


The Barry group consisted mainly of service-learning students, Stamps Scholars, students enrolled in ORI 100 (the orientation course), and Barry Service Corps fellows. Barry alumni, staff, and students’ family members were among the participants.


BSC Fellow Paris Razor planned and coordinated the social justice event with support from Center for Community Service Initiatives and CIW staff. Razor is a member of the steering committee of the Student/Farmworker Alliance, or SFA.


The demonstration advanced the Campaign for Fair Food, a long-term effort by the CIW and SFA to encourage corporations to participate in the Fair Food Program. Barry students have been active participants in the campaign since October 2014 and have contributed to the CIW’s boycott of Wendy’s, the fast-food franchise, since it was announced in spring 2015.


CIW members and their allies also have been putting pressure on Publix, the supermarket chain, to participate in the program.


The Fair Food Program is a partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail-food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms. According to the CIW, the program harnesses the power of consumer demand to give farmworkers a voice in the decisions that affect their lives and to eliminate the longstanding abuses that have plagued agriculture for generations.


Paola Montenegro was one of the students in the march. She wanted to make more people aware of the plight of farmworkers.


“I’ve been to Immokalee,” said the Barry political science major. “I’ve seen how hard it is for farmworkers.”


Quoted by Florida Catholic, the diocesan newspaper, Montenegro added, “We’re inspiring and giving hope for the future. We are educating consumers to become more socially conscious. I want to continue advocating for human rights.”


The Miami march was one of several similar demonstrations that took place that day in communities across the country. The annual event was initiated four years ago as a joint effort by Barry and St. Thomas to revitalize support for the CIW in Miami. Through the SFA, the annual November demonstration has spread to other cities and has become one of the hallmarks of the Campaign for Fair Food.



Brianna Olive Supports Women’s Breast and Heart Initiative


Have you ever heard of the Bucs Women’s Breast and Heart Initiative Club? No? Give it a week or two, and you will.


Brianna Olive, president of the newly formed club, is a Barry senior majoring in advertising. She says what started out as a service-learning assignment for her Introduction to Communication class snowballed into this brand new club.


Olive says she first got connected to the Women’s Breast and Heart Initiative with the help of the Center for Community Service Initiatives. Her involvement through COM 201, the communication course, developed into a close relationship with WBHI staff and it inspired her to continue her work as a volunteer.


“We bonded and we had a great relationship, and they asked me to continue working with them,” she says, referring to staff at the Miami Lakes-based nonprofit organization.


WBHI Executive Director Andrea Ivory says, “The funny thing was we had no idea she was a part of the communication department because of her engagement and dedication to her task.”


Olive says her dedication to promoting breast and heart health awareness is a result of how invaluable the information is to women, because so many of them can be affected.


“One in three women gets heart disease and one in eight women has breast cancer at some point in their life,” she notes.


Olive has taken the lead in spreading the message about the benefits of early detection of breast cancer and heart disease, and a healthy lifestyle. In the face of lack of interest by some local community residents, she has persevered because she knows she is doing life-saving work. And she has heard the expressions of gratitude from many.


 “People are so grateful,” she says. That’s what has made me keep doing it,” she says.


Now, the campus-based student club she created recently is playing its part, supporting the work of the nonprofit founded by Ivory, a Barry distinguished alumna.



Categories of Awards Include Educator, Service-Learning Faculty


Community Engagement Educator and Service-Learning Faculty are among the categories for which Community Engagement Awards nominations are being accepted.


Students, faculty, staff, and administrators are invited to submit nominations by January 26.


The nomination form is available in CEMS – the Community Engagement Management System.





This award honors an employee for significant contributions to the institutionalization and enhancement of community engagement at BarryUniversity. Winners of this award are administrators, staff members, or faculty members who have promoted institutional commitment to community engagement, contributed to campus–community partnerships, and supported students and colleagues in community engagement activities.



Dr. Stephanie Bingham (Biology)

Dr. Marc Lavallee (Theology and Philosophy)


Dr. Ricardo Jimenez (Math and Computer Science)


Steffano Montano (Theology and Philosophy)


Dr. Philip H. Mann (Business)


This award recognizes faculty members for exemplary integration of community service into the curriculum or for demonstrating excellence in using service-learning as a teaching and learning strategy. Instructors of designated service-learning courses are prime candidates for this award.



Dr. Pamela Hall (Psychology)


Dr. Kevin Kemerer (Business)

Dr. Mitchell Rosenwald (Social Work)


Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech (Nursing and Health Sciences)


Dr. Tamara Hamilton (Physical Sciences)


The other award categories are Community Impact, Community Partnership, Community-Based Research, Engaged Scholarship, and Engaged Department.


The fifth annual Community Engagement Awards will be held on March 28, 2018.



Students Support Thanksgiving Celebration with Refugees


A group of Barry students assisted with the 10th Annual Thanksgiving Celebration of Church World Service Miami recently at the Miami Lakes Congregational Church.


The 14-member group facilitated games, arts and crafts, and other activities for refugee and migrant families from Afghanistan, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, and Haiti.


More than 70 recent arrivals attended the Thanksgiving event.


Church World Service Miami Case Manager Kenneth Fuentes thanked Barry students and staff for supporting refugee resettlement. He said the activities planned for the families “really makes a difference for them.”



Organization Thanks University for Supporting Hygiene Program


Clean the World has thanked Barry and other universities for supporting its hygiene-related program.


Shawn Seipler, founder and CEO of the social enterprise, expressed gratitude to colleges and universities as he spoke at Florida Campus Compact’s Annual Awards Gala in Winter Park last month.


The Orlando-headquartered Clean the World collects and recycle soap and hygiene products discarded by the hospitality industry and other sectors that generate environmental waste. Through the distribution of these and other donated products to impoverished people, the organization aims to prevent millions of hygiene-related deaths each year, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, and encourage vigorous childhood development.


Students at Barry’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in Orlando have been supporting Clean the World by assembling hygiene kits as a service project.



Student Leader Attends Newman Civic Fellows Conference


Barry student leader Paola Montenegro attended the Newman Civic Fellows National Conference on November 17 and 18 in Boston, Mass.


A senior majoring in political science, Montenegro is one of 273 “community-committed” college students participating in the Newman Civic Fellows Program for 2017–2018.


Those attending the two-day conference participated in a Senate immersion module developed by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Using tablet technology, the students worked together to propose amendments to the Farm Bill of 2014.


Also, the students traveled to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, where they attended a TEDx event.


The students also took part in a workshop focused on political empathy, in which they discussed the Confederate Monument Removal Act. A bill calling for the removal of all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in the Capitol of the United States was introduced in Congress in September.


"I met students from all around the U.S. who are advocating and working toward greater justice in their communities,” Montenegro said. “Witnessing these gatherings where people create awareness and generate solutions brings me hope for the future."


Campus Compact – a national coalition of approximately 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education – organized the conference in association with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.


According to Campus Compact, the Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. The fellowship is named for Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact.

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