For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran

Georgian Court University to Hold Community Service Marathon

Event is One of Many in the Celebration of the University's 100-Year Anniversary

Lakewood, N.J., Sept. 11, 2008—To celebrate 100 years as a Mercy institution of higher education, Georgian Court University is sponsoring the Mercy Marathon, a community service marathon. Conducted in conjunction with more than a dozen area nonprofit organizations, it will begin during “Mercy Week,” September 22–28, 2008, and provide an opportunity for all GCU students, staff, faculty members, alumni, and friends to roll up their sleeves and make a difference in the community.

“Translating concern for social justice into action is a critical part of our mission at Georgian Court University, and the Mercy core value of service calls us all to use our skills and experience to help others,” says Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., university president. “The Mercy Service Marathon will give each of us the opportunity to do just that; to live our values and put our words into action for the community.”

President Jeffries has asked every member of the Georgian Court community to sign a Mercy Marathon pledge form, describing the type of service each individual will be performing. The completed pledge forms will all be presented during the offertory at the celebration of Mass on Mercy Day, September 24—the official kickoff celebrating the university’s Centennial year.

Varied volunteer opportunities are available, as Georgian Court is partnering with many local nonprofits and community organizations.

On-campus opportunities include an American Red Cross Blood Drive; a weeklong Children’s Book Collection, with books to be donated to local hospitals; designing luminaries for the Providence House of Catholic Charities–Luminary Project, which will bring attention to domestic violence; Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA), who will be training both English- and Spanish-speaking participants as tutors; and participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, to be held on campus next May.

Off-campus opportunities include volunteering at Catholic Charities Emergency and Community Services, Lakewood; sorting orders and working in the greenhouse of the Food Bank of Monmouth/Ocean; volunteering at Children’s Specialized Hospital, Toms River; cleaning up bay front beaches in Brick, Pine Beach, Island Beach, Berkeley, and Toms River with the Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program (BBNEP); and volunteering with the Lakewood Parks Department to clean up Lake Carasaljo Park.

“As we reflect on our 100-year Mercy heritage, giving thanks for our many blessings, I urge you to renew your belief that we are all servers and served in life,” says President Jeffries. “This is our chance to demonstrate that we not only speak the words, but live them in our GCU community of social action.”

September 24th is the day recognized worldwide as the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. It was on that day in 1827 that Catherine McAuley, then a lay woman, opened her House of Mercy for the poor on Baggot Street, Dublin, Ireland. She entered the convent in 1830, and a year later went on to found the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Today, Sisters of Mercy worldwide celebrate the feast as “Mercy Day” and the week as “Mercy Week.” The Sisters of Mercy are the sponsoring organization of Georgian Court University.

For more information about the Mercy Service Marathon, part of the yearlong Georgian Court University Centennial Celebration, please call the GCU Office of Conferences and Special Events at 732.987.2285.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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