Volunteerism: Servant Leadership at its Finest

Spring is often a time of renewal. A second chance at those New Year’s Resolutions that we forgot once February rolled around. During your own reflections, have you thought about taking on a new leadership challenge? Have you thought about using your leadership skills in the community? Have you thought about volunteering?

raise-hands-volunteer-copyI know many of us may stay away from taking on such a challenge because we figure we don’t have the time. The truth is we do have the time for volunteering if it’s for something we are passionate about. What is it that you care about? When you read the news, what causes grab your attention? Is it homelessness, hunger, or education? Or, is it something broader, such as helping people improve their job development skills, or helping the less fortunate handle their finances? Or, is it something as simple as helping with a neighborhood cleanup or sharing your voice with the church choir?

Now that you’ve identified an area you’re passionate about, take a look at your skills and talents. What can you offer an organization that is servicing this population? Would you like to be a board member, or would you like something more short-term, such as serving on a fundraising committee for a gala event?

Don’t forget to do some research on the organizations that specialize in the area of your interest. There are a great number of resources available: with just the click of your mouse, you can find so much information with a simple web search. For those of you in the New Haven area, the GNH Community website, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and United Way of Greater New Haven are great starting points. And, just like when you do a job search, you’ll know when you see the perfect match for you.

“I was taught that the world had a lot of problems; that I could struggle and change them; that intellectual and material gifts brought the privilege and responsibility of sharing with others less fortunate; and that service is the rent each of us pays for living, the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time or after you have reached your personal goals.”

Marian Wright Edelman

volunteer workI am a lover of quotes. And anyone who studies or teaches in the field of organizational leadership will find that we’re not lacking for quotes that can fit the lesson you’re trying to teach, or the sector that you work in. The Marion Wright Edelman quote above is one of my favorites when I talk about community leadership and volunteering. As leaders we do have the privilege and responsibility to share our talents with others less fortunate.

There are thousands of non-profits and religious organizations in the State of Connecticut which could use your help. Be it for something as simple as a few hours over the course of one day, or a longer-term commitment. They can use your skills and talents. Help be that change.

37782d8Patti Scussel

Financial Aid for Veterans

Copy of 2014_04_10_IMG_20140320_133641_057Veterans Should Apply for Financial Aid (and it’s easier than you think!)

First of all, thank you for your service. We’re happy that you are interested in applying for financial aid and are here to take the confusion out of the process.

Have you visited the Registrar’s Office to let them know that you’re a veteran and to submit all of your documents for VA Educational Benefits? If not, you should as soon as possible.

Your educational benefits don’t stop there. Even if you receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you may still be eligible for federal and state financial aid. Don’t miss your chance to receive the Federal Pell Grant or the Connecticut Governor’s Scholarship Program (GSP) Grant.

Copy of 2014_04_10_Blog - PictureThe primary application for financial aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It can be a complicated form, but we’re here to help you. Stop by our office so we can walk you through the process, or give us a call if you are completing it by yourself and run into a problem. Thirty minutes can result in up to $5,645 in grant aid that you can receive in addition to your Post 9/11 GI Bill.

No time to do the FAFSA? All is not lost. Check out our “Alternative Financing” page (link to page) on the

Financial Aid section of the myAlbertus Portal for a list of Veteran Scholarships. The opportunities are endless.

Already applied for financial aid, received a Shopping Sheet with your award letter, and have some questions? We know that the Shopping Sheet can be confusing. It also doesn’t take your VA Educational Benefits into consideration. Give us a call and we’ll help you figure out your true Net Cost of Attending.

We understand the transition to college life can bring on unanticipated pressure and sacrifice; let’s not make finances another obstacle.

Don’t forget: we’re always here to help! Stop in or call anytime.

We in the Financial Aid Office know how difficult it is to finance a private education (75 percent of us are graduates of Albertus Magnus College!). Because of this, our goal is to help finance your dreams through education by providing access to financial aid and promoting financial knowledge. We are invested in your future: Literally.

Location: Aquinas Hall, Room 107
Hours: Monday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:30a.m. – 4:30p.m.

Phone: (203) 773-8508
Fax: (203) 773-8972
Email: financial_aid@albertus.edu

Update on the Crisis in Ukraine

An Election

Once the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, fled to Russia, abandoning his country, and it became apparent that a movement existed in Crimea to rejoin Russia existed, the situation, which had been an internal struggle over the economy and future direction of the nation, quickly spiraled into further chaos.

Crimea Medvedev-1Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, left, speaks to Crimean Premier Sergei Aksyonov while visiting Crimea in Simferopol, Crimea, Monday, March 31, 2014.

First, the self-exiled president called for an election in Crimea for the people there to decide if they wanted to remain part of Ukraine or rejoin the Russian federation. A quick election took place with a reported 88 percent of the population there desiring reconciliation with Russia. Ukrainians living outside Crimea weren’t allowed to vote; if they had we could assume that the election results would be very different. But that vote is all that the Russians need to support their political ambitions of keeping Ukraine under their political control. To make a quick comparison to the United States, imagine if many people in New Jersey wanted to become English citizens again. Now imagine if a state-wide vote revealed that 88 percent of the people in the state wanted to rejoin the United Kingdom. How would we feel? That’s the way Ukrainian people feel right now!

Russia Invades

Uniformed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, walk in formation near Ukrainian military baseAs the Russians already occupied a naval base in Crimea (at Sevastopol) based on a treaty with Ukraine, they were able to quickly increase their military presence in the area. Ships and troops were moved onto the base, threatening Ukraine. In addition, pro-Russian Crimean militia joined their Russian brethren taking over the surrounding area.

Russian President Vladimir Putin then signed a treaty to incorporate the Crimea back into its territory. This move as welcomed by many Russians but condemned by Ukraine’s new government, which called Putin’s move “a threat to the civilized world and international security.”

The West and Ukraine described the Crimean referendum as illegitimate and being held at gunpoint. The United States and European allies imposed economic sanctions on Russia, targeting Russian and Crimean officials with visa bans and asset freezes.

Newly-elected Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov has his back against the wall. His forces are too small to oppose the Russian military. Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh was refused entry to Crimea when he tried to visit the region last week. Even he couldn’t enter the area.

NATO Responds


NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was formed after World War II to balance the Russian influence in Eastern Europe. NATO’s collective economic strength is 20 times wealthier than Russia ($40 trillion in GDP versus $2 trillion). NATO’s collective military strength is also overwhelming compared to the Russians. However, as Ukraine is not a member of NATO, any threat to their national security will not trigger an armed response from NATO states. Thus, as of now there will not be any fighting between NATO forces and Russian forces.

So far, NATO will only say that they will conduct “war games.” These maneuvers are the traditional way that countries flex their military muscle at a threat without any type of formal declaration of hostilities. However, military forces in some NATO member countries, like Poland and Germany, have their forces on high alert.

The USA is the most important NATO member (followed by Germany, Britain, and France) and is still involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the American public wouldn’t support another war, any response by NATO will be symbolic at best.

Summing Up

What is evident by Russia’s previous invasion of Georgia and its invasion of Crimea is that the Russians deeply want to regain territory lost with the collapse of the former Soviet Union. A majority of Russian citizens seem to support this annexation of territory. The present situation in the region is analogous to Germany in the late 1930s. Back then, Adolf Hitler was suing his military (1935 in the Rhineland and 1938 in Czechoslovakia) questionable elections (in 1938 in Austria) to reclaim territory lost at the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Hitler was adored by the masses of German citizens who believed he was restoring their lost pride. Unfortunately, his machinations led directly to World War II (September 1, 1939 – September 2, 1945).

This situation in Crimea is alarming, but does not yet pose a real threat to the stability of Europe. We should, however, be concerned to the extent that a newly-democratic nation has had part of its sovereign territory taken over by another nation. We, therefore, need to closely monitor Russia’s geographic aspirations. Small nations need to have their sovereignty respected.

Interested in learning more about Criminal Justice? Click here to find out what Criminal Justice Programs we offer here at Albertus Magnus College.

michael-gearyMichael Geary
Sociology Department
Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program
B.S., Mercy College
M.S., Long Island University
J.D., Pace University

Read more from Michael Geary:

National Security and Civil Liberty: A Chronological Perspective. M. Geary (2014) Carolina Academic Press.

Terrorism Investigations and the Public Safety Exception to the Miranda Rule. M. Geary (2013) Homeland Security Review, Volume 7, Number 3.