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Alumni Association acts quickly to help homeless during storm Alumni

Megan Cheever and Jon Rodibaugh from the RIT Alumni Office had a feast in front of them on Jan. 30, but they had no guests to serve at their reception.

The two were planning to host 35 attendees of the Alumni Association meeting in Washington, D.C., at a dinner party in Potomac, Md. But a “snow storm” forced a cancellation. In Rochester, five inches of snow is nothing. But a few inches of the white stuff in the capital forces the region to shut down.

After two hours of treacherous driving to Maryland, Cheever and Rodibaugh knew the dinner at the home of RIT Trustee Brian O’Shaughnessy would have to be canceled. O’Shaughnessy and the Alumni Association members were stuck in Washington.

So what to do with a menu of beef satay, wild mushroom ravioli, stuffed chicken dumplings, homemade canolis, sautéed green beans and more?

Rodibaugh and Cheever brainstormed with their boss, Kelly Redder, assistant vice president of alumni relations. The best option: Give the meals to a food pantry.

“We got back on the road with food in tow, said Rodibaugh, director of Alumni Relations chapter programming. “The beltway was at a dead stop so we took to the back roads and wandered our way to D.C. by using the Washington Monument and Potomac River as a guide. We arrived at Luther Place Memorial Church & Food Bank at about 5:45 and dropped off the food. They were very thankful and appreciative that we drove the food as far as we did. They said we dropped it off “just in time for dinner!”

Oh the irony of moving the January meeting from Rochester to D.C. to avoid bad weather.

“This is a wonderful example of RIT turning adversity into an advantage for disadvantaged people on a cold and snowy day,” said O’Shaughnessy.

Association members stranded in Washington eventually had dinner at a restaurant. Ironically, the homeless shelter was a block away from the hotel where the Association members were meeting.

“It’s just a great example of how well the office and our chief volunteers work together, especially in a crisis,” says Kelly Redder, assistant vice president of alumni relations.


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