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Conor Grennan, author of Little Princes, visits St. Bonaventure University

Conor Grennan, author of Little Princes: One Man’s Journey to Find the Lost Children of Nepal, visited St. Bonaventure’s campus Monday to deliver a speech to the class of 2015 and others.

Little Princes tells the story of Grennan’s first experience with the children at the Little Princes orphanage in Nepal. Before long, he makes a horrifying discovery: These children are not orphans. Child traffickers fooled families into turning over their children, who were then sold.

That discovery leads Grennan to another realization: He has a responsibility to these children. He embarks on a journey to return the lost children to their parents. He endures civil war, Maoist leaders, limited food and the treacherous mountains of Nepal to bring them home.

He and his organization, Next Generation Nepal, have, to date, returned 250 trafficked, abused and malnourished children to their homes.

But he won’t brag about it.

“My favorite thing about Conor’s story was that it was so down-to-earth and honest,” said Abby Cohen, assistant director of the First-Year Experience program. “He doesn’t see himself as a hero, just someone who discovered his passion and chased it.”

Koty Mann, freshman theology major from Buffalo, N.Y., agreed with Cohen.

Mann said he loved that Grennan felt a calling that inspired him to act.

“Grennan’s attitude was, ‘They needed help. I want to help them,’” he said.

Mann felt especially connected to Grennan’s story.

“I volunteered in Nicaragua twice with my youth group,” he said. “It was sort of eerie how similar our experiences with children were.” Mann volunteered at a child care center called Mustard Seed Community as recently as this past August.

Mann said he, like Grennan, learned a lot in his faith journey while volunteering.

“I couldn’t understand how anyone could be so happy while being so poor,” he said. “But these people knew their faith and their family, and they loved without hesitation.”

Mann was one of the 13 winning essayists from the summer reading assignment. Another winner, Patricia Rosetti, a freshman undeclared arts major from Dryden, N.Y., said reading the stories of malnourished and neglected children hit home. Rosetti said she remembered the day her little sister came home.

According to Rosetti, her parents adopted Katie Ella from Russia when Katie was nine months old. Rosetti, age three at the time, felt instant sorrow and love for her baby sister who had before been uncared for and hungry.

“Just like Conor with the children in the hospital, if my parents hadn’t adopted her, she probably wouldn’t have survived,” she said.

Katie is now a healthy and happy 16-year-old who tells people she’s special because she was adopted, Rosetti said.

She also connected with Grennan on an academic level.

“I liked how he said you don’t have to know what you’re doing with your life just yet,” she said. “He had a hard time in college, but he stumbled upon his calling and encouraged us to do the same.”

Other students also felt Grennan’s speech was honest, lighthearted, and funny but moving. He told his own amazing story, while making the students laugh and feel comfortable around him. So how did all of this come about? The All Bonaventure Reads committee, made up of students, faculty and staff, chose Little Princes this spring.

“We were looking for a topic that would hit home and something college freshmen could relate to,” said Cohen.

Cohen explained the book fell into their laps.

“Nancy Casey (FYE director) received a copy in the mail and decided to bring it in for the committee’s consideration,” she said. Cohen said the committee members liked the cover of the book, and once they started reading it, could not put it down. Prior to the selection of the book, Casey and Cohen attended a national first-year experience conference in Atlanta, Ga. There, they heard Grennan speak, and knew his style would appeal to freshmen.

“I think the best way to reach the students is to be honest and transparent,” Grennan said, followed by a short explanation that the reason he decided to volunteer in the first place was to impress women at bars.

Grennan admitted that he has regrets about his time in school, but said he ended up discovering his passion along the way.

“Every choice I made, I wanted to be able to look back and be proud of,” he said.
Little Princes is now translated into 11 different languages. A portion of the proceeds go directly to Next Generation Nepal.

Grennan and his wife, Liz, have a 2-year-old son named Finn and a 5-month-old daughter named Lucy. Grennan said he thinks about his own children often when helping to rescue children in Nepal.

“I want people to take the message to heart,” Grennan said. “They aren’t just faces—they’re real kids.”

Grennan said he knows saving every child in the world isn’t something he is capable of doing. His mission is to save one child at a time.

“And to one family, that child is the whole world,” he said.

-Amanda Koneski
Class of 2013

Find out who all the essay winners are and read their essays!

View more photos of Grennan's visit!

Wellness Fair
Putting the GLEE back into college

Thursday, October 13

Information tables, Relaxation time,
low intensity
ROTC Boot Camp,
massage chairs,
free food, door prizes and music

Presentation by Dr. Chuck Walker -
Psychological Well-Being on a Campus:
Is Emotional Health a Contagious Sickness?

Movie screenings - Girl Interrupted
and Finding Nemo

Meet the Residence Directors

Your student has a number of guides as he discovers the ins and outs of college life.

Among those guides are the members of St. Bonaventure’s residence life team.
The residence life team includes a resident assistant (RA) on each floor in the residence halls. Each building also has a residence director (RD) who works with students and with the RA staff.

This year, St. Bonaventure has two new RDs who oversee the freshman residence halls.

Meet Bree Rehac
Rehac is the Residence Director of Robinson, Falconio, and Doyle halls. She is a St. Bonaventure University Class of 2010 English graduate, and she is currently pursuing her master’s degree in the counseling program.

Rehac said she is very familiar working with freshman students because she was also an RA for three years when she was an undergraduate.

“I remember what it was like to be a student here at Bona's,” she said. “ I am comfortable talking to freshmen, and I also remember my freshman year here very vividly. I also have been through the same problems some freshmen might be going through such as dealing with roommate conflicts and figuring out how to get involved on campus.”

One way Rehac said she hopes to build community in the residence halls is through a building program called The RFD Challenge. (RFD is the Bonaventure lingo when referring to Robinson, Falconio and Doyle Halls.)

The RFD Challenge is a yearlong competition to challenge residents to show how proud they are to live in “RFD.”

Residents of each individual floor, or “house,” will try to earn as many points as possible throughout the entire school year. Residents can earn points by attending RA floor programs, making sure their “house floors” are clean, and showing an overall sense of pride while living in RFD.

Outside of building programming, RAs and RDs are available to help your student with individual problems or concerns he or she may have.

Meet Mark Fabbi
Fabbi is the Residence Director of Shay/Loughlen Halls. He is a Temple University Class of 2011 Political Science/Pre-Law graduate, and he is currently pursuing his master’s degree in the counseling program.

Before coming to St. Bonaventure University in July, he worked as a deputy chief of staff for a state representative in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Fabbi said he can relate to freshmen because, like the freshmen who had to move away from their families and friends, he recently had to make the big transition from Philadelphia to St. Bonaventure.

To help with the transition freshmen are making to college, Fabbi said he is trying to create as many building-wide events as possible. He hopes to help freshmen grow not only academically but socially as well.

Earlier in September, the Shay/Loughlen Residence Life hosted an event called “Get Lo-Shay Lo,” where residents from both buildings were able to enjoy a barbeque and picnic on their front lawn. Volleyball, Tie-Dying, and Kan-Jam took place at the picnic.

Fabbi said he hosts weekly movie nights in the main lobby and several floor dinners are planned throughout the semester.

“Bonaventure is a home away from home. There are so many support mechanisms in place to help your son or daughter develop not only academically, but also professionally and spiritually,” he said.

-Robbie Chulick
Class of 2013

Upcoming events on campus include:
Friday, September 30 - Women's Soccer Game
Friday, September 30 - Men's and Women's Cross Country Paul Short Invitational
Friday, September 30 - Saturday, October 1 - Overnight at Mt. Irenaeus
Saturday, October 1 - Darien Lake Fright Fest Bus Trip

Saturday, October 1 - Women's Rugby Game
Monday, October 3 - Transitus
Monday, October 3 -
LinkedIn Basics
Monday, October 3 - Monday Night Football and Wing Night in the Skeller
Monday, October 3 - Billiards Tournament in the Skeller
Tuesday, October 4 - Ultimate Money Skills
Tuesday, October 4 - Feast of St. Francis
Wednesday, October 5 - Open Mic Night in the Skeller
Friday, October 7 - Tuesday, October 11 - Service Trip to St. Francis Inn, Philadelphia
Friday, October 7 - Tuesday, October 11 - BonaResponds Fall Break Service Trip

Saturday, October 8 - Tuesday, October 11 - Midterm Break
Wednesday, October 12 - Open Mic Night in the Skeller
Thursday, October 13 - Debra Digiovanni, Comedian
Friday, October 14 - Gift Card Bingo
Saturday, October 15 - Lion King in Buffalo Bus Trip

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