Courtesy of Stephanie Denzler

When Tiernan Project was founded in 1974, it began as a student group composed entirely of residents living in Tiernan Hall. According to Tiernan Project alumnus and director of the Rochester Center for Community Leadership Glenn Cerosaletti, everybody who lived in Tiernan Hall at that time joined the Tiernan Project and was dedicated to community service.

Over the years, Tiernan Project kept its identity as a special interest

Community and continued to be active in various kinds of community services around Rochester. Though Tiernan Project is no longer in Tiernan Hall – it is now in Burton, an old house on the Residental Quad – many students still have a misunderstanding about the group.

Membership Chair of Tiernan Project and junior Christina Amaral told a story about when she and her community members raised awareness about Tiernan Project to students on campus early one semester. An apologetic student approached Amaral, lamenting over the fact that she could not join the group because she did not live in Tiernan Hall. Yet this student was merely misinformed.

“Everyone is welcomed to participate in our events. We encourage more people to be involved,” President of Tiernan Project and junior Sarah Pristash said.

From the day it was founded, community building through community service has always been the core mission of Tiernan Project.

But this year, members are trying to redefine their goals. “Instead of just having one theme of community service like many other groups on campus do, we want to find various things people would like to do and organize a lot of different events,” Community Service Chair and junior Shagun Kaul said. “We really encourage our members to give input on what they would like to do for community service.”

Tiernan Project has created several signature events for itself over the years, including refugee tutoring in Carlson Library on Saturday and Mt. Hope Cemetery cleanups.

“We used to do dog walking, too,” Shagun said. “But, sometimes dogs were evil and tended to bite people, which might not be for everyone.”

In addition to its regular events, Tiernan Project also holds a Halloween party for children from the Rochester area, which is its biggest event every fall semester. Members of the group invite children from different elementary schools to come to campus and lead them through various dorms to trick or treat.

This fall, they cooperated with Learning and Exploring at Play, LEAP, – an organization that tutors kids from Rochester city schools – to bring kids to campus on Halloween. After being showered with candy by college students, the kids were brought to a room where arts and crafts were set up, and where the Halloween party was to be held.

“Swing dance [group] came to teach them dance, and we provided food after. It was really fun,” Amaral said.

In the past, Tiernan Project members have also invited children from Mary’s Place, Catholic Family Center, and Sojourner House for the Halloween extravaganza.

The Halloween party is also a way to spread awareness about the group and promote membership. When asked about how to apply to live on their floor after the event, Amaral said that every student could apply, but they do encourage people to participate in their events before applying.

“This way, people could get to know more about our events and members and see if they really like Tiernan Project,” Amaral said. “Our housing lottery system is separate from the campus housing lottery. The points that we would consider when choosing applicants could be earned from every event [in which] people participated.”

Furthermore, Kaul discussed how to be a member – it isn’t necessary to be a part of Tiernan Project. However, Kaul believes that “it would be more convenient and efficient for members to get their ideas heard if they live together.” Tiernan Project, with its all-encompassing community service, is designed to be more than just a residential community.

Tiernan Project’s next event – playing bingo with the elderly at St. Jones Nursing Home – will take place on Saturday, Nov 22. Anyone interested in participating or learning more about the group should contact  Tiernan Project will be playing Students interested in getting involved with Tiernan Project should contact

Liu is a member of the class of 2015.

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