To a soldier far from home, a letter can be everything missed - a connection to the people, the country they left behind.
On Thursday, Sept. 10, junior Maeve Semo and approximately 25 other students in Monroe Hall wrote letters and donated supplies for U.S. soldiers overseas. "They're working toward a cause. They're fighting for our country," said Semo, whose father served in Afghanistan.
Semo, a resident assistant in Monroe, organized the activity. Sophomore Shannon Butera, a resident in Monroe, helped Semo encourage students to create messages of thanks and support. Semo advised those writing letters to speak personally, to make the soldiers feel connected to the campus.
In addition to the supplies her residents contributed, Semo included copies of The Democrat & Chronicle and The Lamron in the package to give recipients a connection to Rochester and Geneseo.
While preparing the event, Semo was aware of the controversy surrounding U.S. involvement in the Middle East. "I tried not to get political at all," she said, adding that she hoped that students from all sides of the debate could agree that the soldiers must be supported.
The success of this original event encouraged Semo to take the project a step further. She asked the Follett bookstore in the College Union, as well as Buzzo Music, Joe's Comics and Sundance Books on Main Street if they would be interested in getting involved through making donations.
Each shop was ready and willing to get onboard. With $50 worth of supplies from Follett, T-shirts from Buzzo, comics from Joe's and books from Sundance, Semo's gift to the servicemen and women grew significantly.
Semo's next step will be to contact the Army Reserves in Rochester in order to put the relief package into the hands of soldiers in the Middle East. She said she hopes to send it sometime in the coming weeks.
Semo also said she intends to expand this initiative, since "there [is] more than one camp of soldiers out there." She said she would like to join the entire campus in an effort to help soldiers overseas.
For readers interested in getting involved, Semo is still accepting donations for this shipment. If you have something to give, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.