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June 18, 2018

Alumni Get “INN” Step for a Cause

by Kurt Gottschalk

Sarah O’Connor ’16 was on a fashion shoot in Italy, but her thoughts weren’t on striking poses for the camera. The history major and Honors College alumna was thinking about volunteer work she’d done for The Interfaith Nutrition Network—known simply as The INN. The Hempstead nonprofit organization provides food, shelter and other supportive services to the homeless and others in need, and O’Connor wanted to do more to help.

“It’s in Hempstead and I went to high school in Hempstead,” said O’Connor. “They feed thousands of people every week. And I used to volunteer there. I had a personal connection.”

She came up with an ambitious effort, a 4,000-mile bicycle marathon from New York to L.A. The ride took her from June 25 to August 17 of 2017 and ultimately raised $15,241 for the organization.

For the effort to be a success, she needed backers pledging financial support. Adelphi’s alumni came through with financial backing and, in the case of Silas Kelly, M.S.W. ’14, a platform to promote her cause via a radio spot on station Z100. Titled “Z-100 Get Active—Sarah O’Connor and the INNcredible Bike Ride,” the radio spot proved to be a big boost to her bike-a-thon, raising $3,000. In June 2018, the spot was awarded First Place, Breaking News-Radio, by the Long Island Press Club.

“To be able to collaborate with such a fantastic young lady to bring her amazing story to the airwaves has me thrilled to no end,” said Kelly.

The alumni network isn’t just like family to O’Connor, it is family. O’Connor’s grandmother and both her parents graduated from Adelphi. And Robert Kammerer, M.S. ’86, is on the board of directors and is married to The INN’s executive director, Jean Kelly.

When it came time for O’Connor to choose a college, “Adelphi was one of my top options,” she said. “I went to the Honors College brunch and the dean [Richard Garner, Ph.D.] spoke and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna go here.'”

O’Connor continues to model while applying to graduate schools. “I had brilliant professors who helped me develop my critical thinking and my writing skills,” she said. “I loved my academic experience at Adelphi.”

You can listen to Kelly’s Z100 spot, “Sarah O’Connor and the INNcredible Bike Ride,” on Soundcloud.

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