Amber Thiel, a sophomore at Niagara University (NU), has an outstanding level of maturity, an unending enthusiasm for service and a deep commitment to wanting to see change in the world. In her brief three semesters on campus, Amber has already made significant contributions to the campus and the Niagara Falls community. As a freshman, she participated in several week-long immersive service trips where she worked alongside other volunteers at food banks, homeless shelters, community gardens, after-school programs and more. However, her most important passion is the issue of hunger and food insecurity, which impacts more than 42 million Americans, including 13 million children (USDA 2015). Amber is the president of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, a student-run group that oversees a soup kitchen in Niagara Falls every Thursday night. At the kitchen they cook the meal and serve it restaurant style to bring some normalcy to people's lives. Amber's volunteer and leadership commitments are extensive, as she regularly serves more than a half dozen different local organizations. Amber represents the core values and mission of Niagara University, to serve, with dignity, those who are most in need.
I have dedicated time to volunteering here at Niagara University by joining the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. Through the society I learned about the economy in Niagara Falls and the issues that are a part of the residents' lives. The Society has gone to places like Summit Life, Kevin Guest House, Holy Trinity and many others. Along with service in the community, the society has a student-run soup kitchen of which I am a leader. At the kitchen we cook the meal and serve it restaurant style to bring some normalcy to people's lives. After my first year in the group I decided I wanted to do more in the society, so I became president. Now the society has gone on to make our kitchen a more welcoming place for the community. We have adopted a family during Christmas and raised money for Summit Life Crisis Pregnancy Outreach Center. One of my goals as president was to build a better connection with the national society which we have accomplished. This has opened up more projects for the society that I cannot wait to see come into fruition.