Students Participate in Annual CURTIS Week
Students and staff are out in the community for Sacred Heart University's annual CURTIS Week, which runs from January 11 to January 16 this year. CURTIS Week, which stands for Community Understanding & Reflection Through Inner-city Service, honors the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, second Bishop of Bridgeport and founder of the University. This annual program is sponsored by Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
“The goal of CURTIS Week is to encourage understanding among all people throughout the world, beginning here at home,” said Mark Arnold, Volunteer Programs’ graduate assistant, of the immersion week that takes place leading into the spring semester. This year, 15 students, three student leaders and six staff members will participate in the program that involves both cultural and service activities.
Students will live at St. Charles Parish in Bridgeport. During the week, they will attend four church services – at an African-American mosque, a Jewish synagogue, a Spanish-speaking Catholic church and a Black Pride service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., at a Baptist church. They will also learn Latin dance, eat Vietnamese and Puerto Rican meals and much more. Service projects will include working with Habitat for Humanity, participating in Read Aloud Day in the Bridgeport schools, working in the soup kitchen at Bridgeport Rescue Mission and volunteering for Old School Commons projects. The week will conclude with a community dinner – planned and executed by the students.
Shawnee Zyskowski ’13 has participated in both CURTIS Week and the Community Connections week-long program that precedes the fall semester. This time, she is joining as a student leader. “I enjoy the sense of community at the St. Charles Urban Center, and I like the sense of involvement and commitment to the people of Bridgeport that the Sacred Heart community has all year round. That commitment especially shines through during weeks like this,” the Altamont, NY, native said. “I like that this program is not just service-based, but also about culture. It opens you up to the world around you. It’s a week that builds empathy that fosters understanding through both service and the cultural experience.”