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Criminal Justice Students Make New Mainers Feel More at Home


bags of donated clothes for the CJ202 class clothing driveAt Saint Joseph’s, community grows in our students, faculty, and staff who recognize learning as a tool to lift ourselves in the service of others. This semester, CJ 202: Introduction to Criminal Justice put that ethos into practice with a high impact service-learning project.

Professor Meredith Emigh-Guy decided to focus on this year’s Mercy Week critical concern of Immigration. She said, “I decided to focus on Maine’s growing refugee population and found that Catholic Charities has a Refugee and Immigrant Services division. They were asking for warm clothes for new residents, so we decided as a class to do a clothing drive. Two collection boxes were placed on campus and 3 off campus, but 90% of the donations came from the on campus boxes.”

Besides collecting clothes, students learned about the challenges and needs of refugees. They wrote a short paper reflecting on why people leave their country of origin, the challenges they find in their new home, and how they felt about participating in the clothing drive.

One measure of their success: the class collected so much that Catholic Charities couldn’t take all of it, so a portion of the donations were given to Maine Needs. Professor Emigh-Guy encapsulated the biggest takeaway for students, based on their papers: a growing recognition of all the factors that make people flee one country with nothing, in the hopes of finding a safer life somewhere else. Her own takeaway was a reaffirmation of the inherent generosity of the SJC community.

Logan Brown '26 criminal justice“My main takeaway from this experience is that what you think is a little may be a whole lot to other people that can go a very long way for them. You don’t need to change thousands of lives, just one goes a long way to them.”
— Logan Brown ’26 Criminal Justice

When criminal justice students pair compassion with critical thinking, they learn how to grow the spirit of community – at college and for the rest of their lives. Congratulations to CJ 202 for your hard work and your impact on families in need.