Urban Immersion: Final Day & Recap

On our final day of Urban Immersion, Scholars served as volunteers at the annual Easter Egg Hunt hosted by the Bartow-Pell Park located in Pelham Bay, Bronx. The group was assigned to different tasks, from staffing the crafts table, to dispersing and hiding Easter eggs between each hunt. The jobs were nonstop, but overall entertaining, engaging, and a fun way to finish up the previous few days of service!


Scholars volunteered at the Bartow-Pell Park’s Easter Egg Hunt for young children.

We congratulate and thank this year’s Urban Immersion group of seven Scholars for their hard work, intellectual contributions, and commitment to the service project. From their participation in challenges, conversations during reflections, and enthusiasm for each day of activities, the group demonstrated the best qualities of Manresa Scholars. Through their intellectual bothered-ness and curiosity to learn, we look forward to seeing their achievements in their time to come at Fordham.

Stay tuned for additional photos from this year’s Urban Immersion project!


Human and Natural Environments

The third day of Urban Immersion embodied the theme “Human & Natural Environments,” and consisted of local activities and experiences within the Bronx community surrounding Fordham. The group kicked off the day bright and early with a prayer and morning walk around campus led by Fr. Lito Salazar, S.J., Executive Director of Campus Ministry and Jesuit Housemaster. The walk allowed for an initial reflection before the day ahead and a look towards the approaching Holy Week.


Urban Immersion participants engaged in an outdoor prayer on campus.

The group was then joined by Dean Annunziato (FCRH) and Dean Totino (Gabelli) who accompanied the group to Part of the Solution (POTS), a local organization that aims to help low-income families and individuals on their path to stability. The group was divided and participated in various tasks, from peeling and washing potatoes for meal preparation, to distributing clothes to low-income individuals to use for job interviews, to helping stock the pantry for families to pick up their food. Through these various experiences, the Scholars were able to reflect upon the help that is needed on a regular basis within the local community, as well as the resources that are able to be provided to these low-income groups.

After a lunch break, the group took a short walk to Murray-Weigel Hall Jesuit Infirmary, the home for retired Jesuits just outside Fordham’s gates. Here, the Scholars participated in a discussion with three Jesuits on the topic of “Ignatian Stories that Transform”. The men highlighted key stories from their Jesuit apostolates that illustrated how lives can be transformed in daily life.


Participants discussed Ignatian spirituality with retired Jesuits at Murray-Weigel Hall.

Over dinner, the group reflected on the relationship between the UN’s 17 Sustainable Goals that were surfaced on the second day of Urban Immersion, and their experiences at POTS on this third day. The Scholars drew connections between the efforts and resources available at POTS in correlation with the global goals to better the world’s well-being.


Following this, the group watched a PBS documentary on the Triangle Shirt Factory fire in the 1920s, which prompted discussion on the issues of gender and labor inequality, unionization, and the resolutions of change in response to social problems such as these, then and now. Dean Totino helped facilitate a final Ignatian Reflection of the day, giving the Scholars a chance to settle in with their personal thoughts and considerations after their day full of community-engaged, eye-opening experiences and conversations.

Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018

Palanca Letter Program

The Palanca Letter program was first organized by my Global Outreach leader from my freshman year, so stepping into a role to organize letters for Loyola Hall was personally meaningful for me. “Palanca” means “lever” in Spanish. Just as a lever enables a person to move something beyond their normal strength, Palanca letters empower the recipient to feel a depth of love that would not be possible without those held dearest to the individuals. Palancas allow students to experience love from their friends and family, although those held dear to them may not be nearby.


The letters are a huge production. The RA staff collaborates to see the program through. We started by collecting e-mails from parents at the very beginning of the school year, on move-in day. Five months later, we began sending on e-mails about the letter program, asking parents to send e-mails by the beginning on February. However, I think we still got e-mails up until the night before! In terms of volume, we received so many letters. It’s very easy to see, just by the sheer number of letters, how much parents, family members, friends and other loved ones care about the students in Loyola Hall.

The Palanca Letter program also happens at a crucial point in the year. Students have just returned from a month-long break at home, spending lots of time with family and friends. Any student tends to perhaps miss home more easily after the winter break. I think for a lot of students, the letters came at a perfect time when they needed to receive some love and affirmations in the form of a letter to help propel them through the rest of the school year.

Julia Gagliardi, FCRH 2019
Resident Assistant, Loyola Hall

Ignatian Values in Humanitarian Action

In continuation of “Love Week” in Loyola Hall, members of the Manresa SymposiumHSU gathered for a Valentine’s Day class session to discuss “Ignatian Values in Humanitarian Action,” led by the president of Fordham’s Humanitarian Student Union (HSU), Neil Joyce, FCRH 2019.

The conversation began with a short article by Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J., founder of Homeboy Industries. Joyce started off with a discussion of Fr. Boyle’s work and how he is a humanitarian, allowing the Scholars to begin to think of ways in which Jesuit values reflect humanitarianism, and vice versa. Then, Scholars broke up into small groups. Using their knowledge of Fr. Boyle and understanding of core Jesuit values, they applied elements of Manresa’s Shared Expectations model to humanitarianism.

Discussing themes of Learning, Sharing, Reflecting, and Serving, Scholars evaluated the presence and value of these actions in their own lives, the Fordham community, and the world beyond. At the conclusion of each small group thematic discussion, the Symposium participants collectively shared thoughts and opinions that were generated, and ultimately applied humanitarian values to their lives as students at a Jesuit university.

The Symposium session concluded with an introduction to the role of the Humanitarian Student Union, leaving many Scholars eager to sign up to interact with the lessons of this session beyond the walls of Loyola Hall.

Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018

Why Jesuit?

My name is Abby Turbenson, and I am currently a freshman at Fordham College at Rose Hill. I also participate in the Manresa Scholars Program. Besides living in the beautiful Loyola Hall, and taking a unique Manresa seminar course, my fellow Scholars and I have the opportunity to participate in dinner-colloquia led by Program faculty.

I decided to attend a recent dinner-colloquium led by Professor Harry Nasuti (Theology). The event was a wonderful opportunity to meet Prof. Nasuti, share a meal, and engage in lively dialogue with the people I have been living and learning with for the past several months. Prof. Nasuti teaches the Manresa Theology seminar, “Sinners, Saints, and Stories,” so the discussion was centered around Jesuit education — what that meant for St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuits), Archbishop John Hughes (founder of what eventually became Fordham University), and how these figures inform what it means to attend a Jesuit university today.


Manresa Scholars at Prof. Nasuti’s dinner-colloquium.

Being a Jesuit university means that as a school, Fordham has a different role in the lives of its students than another university would have. Fordham succeeds only if it graduates men and women who are ready to live lives that uphold the fundamental values of its founding tradition. In other words, Fordham graduates must be men and women for and with others; otherwise, Fordham has not met its duty.

Recalling a talk that some of us had attended during orientation, my fellow students and I brought up the fact that Fordham has an obligation to uphold academic freedom while taking a moral stance on pressing issues. We found this balance to be of immediate importance by recalling a recent email from Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J., President of Fordham, regarding a controversial speaker who was invited by a club to speak on campus, but whose ideas struck some as at odds with Fordham’s founding ideals.

Our discussion clarified important items about the role of a Jesuit university, and also left me with meaningful questions of my own. Where do I fit into this educational system? Must I always agree with the stance that the University takes, and where does my critical voice emerge? These questions have spilled over from the colloquium into my conversations with friends in more casual settings. It is important to me that I participate actively in Fordham’s culture, and I am heartened to know that my peers are also pursuing this goal.

Abby Turbenson, FCRH 2021
Manresa Scholar, 2017-2018


Thinking and Acting Purposefully

I am beyond blessed to be part of the Manresa community. I truly believe that the program is one of the many “crown jewels” of the Fordham experience. From the first day I stepped foot in Loyola Hall and met all my hallmates, RAs, and Manresa staff and professors, I knew that nothing could compare to this community in the years to come. Whether it’s late nigIMG_2370.jpght study sessions in the O’Keefe Study Commons, watching Sunday football in the Social Commons, tutor sessions with peers in various seminar rooms, jam sessions in the hallway, Mass in the chapel, dinner at Father Lito’s, or Mario Kart tournaments in my room, there is a great energy present. Everyone looks out for each other. Everyone is committed to each other’s success. We truly are a family and it has only been a month!

While the Manresa seminar courses are academically rigorous, they come with some interesting perks. My Manresa class has been served breakfast and coffee on various occasions so that we may consider challenging metaphysical concepts on a full stomach. We are also planning to visit a Greek restaurant in Queens in connection with the Ancient Greek texts we are analyzing in class. As a Gabelli student, these seminar courses are extremely valuable in balancing the business sphere with liberal arts tools to think and act purposefully.

I was initially unsure about applying to an Integrated Learning Community like Manresa. I didn’t know what kind of students it would attract. I think the biggest fear people have is that students in programs like this will have an imbalance between their work and play, placing an unhealthy emphasis on work. But I can assure you that is not the case. While work does come first, the social scene is alive and well in Loyola Hall! In addition to all the activities I mentioned above, I have participated in numerous RA programs, such as attending a Yankees game and kayaking in the Hudson River. I have also visited a New Jersey beach with my roommates, explored the Bronx and Manhattan on the subway, played spike ball, Frisbee, and baseball on Edward’s Parade—all with my fellow Manresa Scholars, who also learn more about themselves through Manresa-sponsored service projects that serve local communities in need. We are not just a community, we are a family, and I can’t wait to see what the next month has in store for us.

Liam Fitzmaurice, GABELLI 2021
Manresa Scholar, 2017-2018

Kayaking on the Hudson with Manresa

As described in previous posts, Manresa Scholars kicked off their first weekend as a community by traveling down to Pier 96 on the Upper West Side for an annual morning of kayaking. With over 100 students signed up for the event, this was the biggest turnout for the kayaking excursion in all ten years of the Manresa Program! Led by Dean Parmach, Mr. Rametta, and Resident Assistants Jenna and Julia, the large group of Scholars trekked to the D subway train at 8:00am, eager to hit the water.


The weather was perfectly cool for a morning outside. Scholars chose either single or double person kayaks, and had the opportunity to paddle around the Hudson River thanks to the Manhattan Community Boathouse. Some of the Manresa staff even took a turn out on the water! Everyone came out of their kayaks a little wet from the splashes of the paddles, but ultimately it just added to the fun.

Afterwards, many groups of students ventured out on their own in Manhattan for a bite to eat and to explore. Kayaking proves to be a great event each year to bring hallmates together and to develop new relationships within the Manresa community.

Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018


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