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Two Students Organize Pop-Up Shop to Support Seton Center

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Seton pop-up shop

Photos by Paige Roberts, C'21

Maggie Bowes, C’24, and Kaitlyn Shelton, C’25, last week hosted a pop-up shop in Patriot Hall, featuring clothes from the Seton Family Store. Both students are interns at the Seton Center as part of their participation in the Semester of Service, taught by Michelle Ohanian, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Education.

seton-pop-up-2-in-text.jpgThe pop-up shop was the realization of a longtime goal. “At the beginning of the semester, Maggie and I met with Kenneth Droneburg, the director of operations at the Seton Family Store, to discuss ways to attract Mount students. During this meeting, Maggie suggested that we hold a pop-up shop at the Mount to give students a taste of the Seton Center,” said Shelton. Bowes, for her part, shared that she had wanted to hold a pop-up shop before their internship even started. “Kenny [the manager of the Seton Family Store] approached us regarding ways to introduce the family store at the Mount…so many students do not even know it exists,” Bowes shared.

With the help of Droneburg and a few other Seton Center volunteers, Bowes and Shelton spent the past several months creating signs, arranging the logistics of the pop-up shop, and setting aside donated pieces they thought would appeal to college students. As the date approached, they worked to promote the event across campus, aided by Ohanian and other students participating in the Semester of Service.

seton-pop-up-5.jpgAlthough the Mount has had a Semester of Service program since 2018, the current program is the most extensive. Participants spend a semester as an intern, volunteering at a local organization for 10 hours per week, in addition to taking a program-specific course taught by Ohanian, earning six credits in the process. The Semester of Service is inter-departmental, organized and overseen by Ohanian (who created it) and now, the new Center for Service as well.

Students who take a Semester of Service will intern at a variety of community partners, such as the Catoctin Pregnancy Center, food banks and of course, the Seton Center. The emphasis is on deepening the Mount’s affiliation with local charities, businesses, and organizations. “The community partners we work with are looking for longer-term volunteers. The Semester of Service meets a need for them, as well as for the students. The community partners are so excited to host Semester of Service interns. These students increase the capacity of organizations doing some of the most important work in northern Frederick County,” noted Sarah Neitz, director of the Center for Service.

Ohanian also emphasized the role of the Semester of Service in forming bonds with groups in the wider Emmitsburg and Frederick County areas. “It’s not meant to be a one-time commitment; that’s great in its own way, but this is for Mount students to get off campus and engage in their community as much as it is about them volunteering,” she explained.

The corresponding class Ohanian teaches meets once a week. She leads students in discussion on what they are doing in their respective internship locations, reflecting on their work, and relating what they’ve learned to their academics and to Catholic Social Teaching.

Reflecting on her internship thus far, Bowes shared that she has “met some amazing women who are serving the Emmitsburg and Thurmont communities. I've also learned so much about service, especially from the perspectives of St. Vincent DePaul, the Daughters of Charity, and Catholic Social Teaching.” Shelton, too, has found her connection to Emmitsburg deepening.

Bowes and Shelton were both thrilled with the results of the pop-up shop, noting that turnout exceeded their expectations and that the earnings matched what the Seton Family Shop typically pulls in a day, in the two hours they hosted the event.

Best of all, they got the word out about the Seton Family Store. Both shared that so few students are aware of the store, and even fewer take advantage of it, and they hope the pop-up shop helped Mounties realize the sort of resources they have just a few minutes from campus. “Mount students and seminarians get a 15% discount at the Seton Family Store when they present their Mount ID,” exclaimed Shelton.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19