Cardinal Service Commitment Award
Outstanding Undergraduate Student – Erin Flynn
Erin Flynn, a senior theology and religious studies major, received an undergraduate student Cardinal Service Commitment Award. The award was presented by The Catholic University of America in celebration of its 125th anniversary.
Flynn contributed 1,186 hours of service to the University's anniversary initiative. Her volunteer work focused mainly on the Relay for Life. Her yearlong efforts as co-chair of that event resulted in 650 students raising more than $44,000 for the American Cancer Society. Flynn's service also included work as regent of the CUA chapter of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, a Best Buddies volunteer, a CUAlternative peer educator, campus coordinator for the Teach for America Campaign, an involvement specialist for the Office of Campus Activities, and a mentor in the Emerging Leaders Program.
Her commitment to service is "a way to give back to other people" Flynn said. "I have been given so much and had the opportunity to experience a lot of different things, and this is one way to show my gratitude."
Flynn, of Williston Park, N.Y., said she chose to attend Catholic University "because I was drawn to the campus faith and community life. The moment I stepped on campus, I knew I could see myself here for four years."
Although she has been involved in numerous service activities during her years as a CUA student, she said the Relay for Life "has definitely been my labor of love."
"I am drawn to Relay For Life and other events the American Cancer Society puts on because I have known many people who have battled cancer and I want to be a part of the movement that stops this disease in its tracks," Flynn said.
She said her work as co-chair for the 2012 relay included sending thousands of e-mails, holding hundreds of meetings, and doing everything she could to have CUA "celebrate, remember, and fight back" in support of the American Cancer Society's work funding cancer research and programs for cancer survivors.
"My will to fight got even stronger this year since my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer last spring," Flynn said. "Thankfully, he is in remission, and I want everyone to be able to celebrate one more birthday."
After graduating in May, she plans to teach special education in Atlanta with the Teach for America Corp, a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting high-achieving recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two or more years in low-income communities throughout the United States.
"I am motivated to serve other people because of the smile you see on the other person's face when you are helping them," Flynn said. "There have definitely been service events that have changed my life. I keep doing it for those moments that make me realize that through service I am learning more about myself and the effect it has on my life."