Niagara University junior Charlyn Rivera discusses the exhibits at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center with a group of NU students during a tour on Sept. 30.

Niagara University’s Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement hosted several activities in coordination with the university’s 2023 Vincentian Heritage Week celebration, an annual observation that highlights its rich history of education and service in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century Catholic priest who inspired and organized his contemporaries to serve the less fortunate.

On Sept. 29, 20 of the institute’s community partner agencies, including Community Missions, United Way of Greater Niagara, Heart, Love & Soul, Jewish Family Services, Peaceprints, Habitat for Humanity, and Grassroots Gardens WNY, were on campus to give agency information and showcase the service learning, internship, and employment opportunities that are available to NU students. 

The next day, Niagara University students joined members of the university’s mission committee and the institute’s community partners to participate in a beautification and cleanup of the Main Street area of Niagara Falls. The group worked on the grounds around Heart, Love & Soul and NU@822, tended gardens at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, and painted sidewalk murals in the Heritage Area Corridor. A highlight of the day was a tour of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, guided by NU junior Charlyn Rivera, an employee of the center and the co-founder of the NU Social Justice Club.