Mercy Mondays: Apply for Service Plunge and meet 2021’s Service Plunge facilitators
Salve Regina’s call to embrace the Mercy mission through service and solidarity is never more apparent than during the University’s annual Service Plunge — which is held at the beginning of each academic year.
Service Plunge is an amazing opportunity for 30 incoming first years to spend a week together participating in both direct and indirect service at community partners across both Aquidneck Island and the rest of Rhode Island.
During the Service Plunge weekend, participants will become well acquainted with the five critical concerns of Mercy: earth, immigration, non-violence, anti-racism and women. As they engage with various service projects, the “plungees” learn the importance of service, social justice and civic engagement.
The Service Plunge is a unique experience that gives incoming first years the real tour of Newport, Rhode Island — a tour that is not just about mansions and beautiful ocean views. Students will learn about the struggles of the city’s local communities and grow in ways they could’ve never expected along the way. Plungees often continue service throughout their time at Salve Regina, creating strong friendships and encountering life-changing, eye-opening experiences.
The Center for Community Engagement and Service is already planning for the Fall 2021 Service Plunge and is excited for the relationships that will be built by students during this meaningful time. Members of the Class of 2025 are invited to apply for this year’s Service Plunge, which will be held Sunday, August 29 through Wednesday, September 1.
Applications are available online and must be submitted by Wednesday, June 30.
Service Plunge Community Partners
During the Three-day Service Plunge opportunity, participants will work with some of the following community partners, although this is not a comprehensive list:
- Child & Family Services — This is the largest and most comprehensive social service provider in Newport County. Volunteers will assist in the Sandpipers Early Learning Center, an early care and education program.
- God’s Community Garden — This garden grows thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables and herbs for local soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters and food pantries. Volunteers will dig, pick and care for the plants and work the farm stand.
- Rhode Island Food Bank — This food bank distributes food to people in need through a statewide network of 160 member agencies, including food pantries, meal sites, shelters, youth programs and senior centers.
- Gifts to Give — Gifts to Give receives donations of gently used clothes, toys and books which volunteers process, organize and package into individual gift packages for thousands of local children who are homeless or living with their families in poverty.
- Confetti Foundation — This foundation has volunteers to help this nonprofit create special birthdays for children in the hospital. Students will help by assembling birthday banners and put together items needed for a birthday in a box.
- Donovan Manor — Donovan Manor is a community center partnered with Salve Regina to foster interactions between elderly residents and young college students. Salve Regina has also hosted holiday dinners, live musical performances, game nights and numerous other events.
- Clean Ocean Access — This nonprofit has three main goals: eliminate marine debris, improve water quality, and protect and preserve shoreline access. Volunteers often partner with Clean Ocean Access for beach and Cliff Walk trash clean-ups.
- Lucy’s Hearth — Volunteers at Lucy’s Hearth can assist with day-to-day shelter operations by preparing residents and the building for the weekend, organizing activities for children, preparing residents for move out, donation room organization and maintenance, childcare and much more.
- Norman Bird Sanctuary — This is a 325-acre bird sanctuary, nature preserve and museum. The sanctuary preserves and protects its habitats and resources for the benefit of birds and wildlife, as well as for people’s education and enjoyment.
Fall 2021 Service Plunge Facilitators
This years’ Service Plunge will be led by eight Salve Regina students. The Service Plunge leaders submitted applications and interviewed for this opportunity, and they were chosen because of their passion for service and ability to serve as leaders. These are students that will likely follow in the footsteps of previous alumni, continuing to live the University’s Mercy mission long after they graduate from Salve Regina.
Find out more about them below.
Chloe Gillerlane ’22, early childhood education major and special education minor
Gillerlane is a rising senior at Salve Regina. This past fall was her first time ever participating in the Service Plunge.
Over her past three years at Salve Regina, Gillerlane has been involved in many different campus clubs and activities. She was a service advocate in the preschool room at Child and Family’s Sandpipers Daycare for two years, is a member of the Student Education Association (SEA) and will be the treasurer for Circle K Club in the fall. Outside of service and being in the classroom, she enjoys going to Ocean Drive and being with her friends.
Gillerlane’s advice to first years at Salve Regina is to get involved and to branch out, as well as to not be afraid to try new things.
Emily Ames ’23, nursing major
Ames participated in the Service Plunge as a first year and loved every second of it, and she could not be more excited to lead it in the fall. Ames feels that the community service opportunities at Salve Regina have been wonderful and a great way to stay involved.
Outside of the classroom, Ames enjoys being a part of SRU dance, the Student Nurses Organization (SNO), a service advocate, and an Academic Center for Excellence tutor. She loves to take advantage of the beautiful location and scenery of Newport.
Her advice to first years would be to find one’s true passion in college and run with it. By taking advantage of all that Salve Regina and the wonderful people have to offer, first years will find themselves having the best of times!
Miranda Gallagher ’23, biology major and Spanish minor
Gallagher is a rising junior studying biology and with a minor in Spanish for the health professions. Gallagher hopes to attend Medical School upon graduation. She spent this past summer preparing for the plunge and doing research at Salve Regina. As a first year, Miranda participated in Service Plunge.
While not in class or doing homework, she loves to take advantage of all that Newport has to offer. Gallagher is also a member of the Campus Activities Board, Mercy in Motion, the Service Advocate Program, and Circle K. Her advice to first years is always go to class and get to know your professors.
Emily Gibson ’23, Special and Elementary education major
Gibson is a rising junior who is studying special and elementary education. She participated in the Service Plunge as a first year and volunteers as a service advocate at Child & Family Services.
Gibson is also a member of the Best Buddies Club, Campus Activities Board, Sigma Phi Sigma, and Circle K at Salve Regina. She is so excited for the Service Plunge this year and can’t wait to meet new first years.
Gibson wants first years to know that it’s completely normal to feel anxious about starting college and that she and the other facilitators are here for them. The members of Service Plunge will all be a little family by the end of the plunge and will always have each other’s backs.
Michael Azar ’24, social work major
Azar is a rising sophomore with a major in social work. Azar participated in the fall 2020 Service Plunge as a first year and then attended the Service Plunge 2.0 during the following semester.
When he’s not focused on schoolwork, Azar can be found volunteering at the Center for Community Engagement and Service, being a part of the Learning Unlimited Program or simply hanging out with his friends.
Azar advises first years to take advantage of everything Newport has to offer, especially the beach.
Morgan Dubay ’24, psychology major
Dubay is a rising sophomore psychology and dance double major. Dubay participated in the 2020 Service Plunge and knew that she needed to get involved within the Newport community. She believes that there is so much beauty in Newport beyond the mansions. Dubay became a service advocate at Child and Family Services in November of 2020, where she volunteers in the pre-kindergarten classroom.
Outside of the community service realm, you can find Dubay in the dance studio, where she is a member of Extensions Dance Company and SRU Dance Club. She is also a member of SalveTHON, Snapshot and Circle K.
Dubay advises freshmen to get as involved as possible, as it will make college years so enjoyable.
Daniel McCarthy ’24, business administration major
McCarthy is a rising sophomore business administration major, pursuing a global business and economics minor. McCarthy participated in the Service Plunge in the fall of 2020 and the Service Plunge 2.0 in the spring of 2021.
Additionally as a service advocate, McCarthy volunteers at the International Tennis Hall of Fame as part of an after-school program called TeamFAME — where he tutors sixth and seventh grade students to help expand their intellectual and personal growth.
Outside of the classroom, McCarthy enjoys exploring Newport and what it has to offer. He advises first years to always attend class, and in their free time explore downtown and capture the breathtaking views of the city.
Caitlyn Guerrera ’23, Nursing major
Guerrera is a rising junior nursing major with a minor in healthcare administration and management.
Guerrera participated in the Service Plunge as a freshman and volunteered as a service advocate at the Edward King House in Newport.
Outside of class, Guerrera enjoys being a part of SRU dance, Student Nurses Organization and A Better Tomorrow Club.
For more information on this years’ Service Plunge, contact any of the facilitators through their Salve Regina email addresses. In addition, the Instagram accounts @salveservice and @salvereginaserviceplunge are both checked regularly by all the student facilitators. Or always call the Center for Community Engagement and Service at (401) 341-2440.
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.