By Dan DiPrinzio
At Cabrini College, Eric Gibble ’11 has taken the challenge to “do something extraordinary” and the College’s mission of social justice, and run with them.
A senior communications major from Lebanon, Pa., Gibble got involved with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as a first-year student. He interned at the organization’s Northeast Regional Office in 2009-10, and served as the College’s CRS Ambassador for Migration. The more he learned about migration and refugees, the more he felt compelled to address immigration reform in the U.S. His passion for this cause hearkens to the College’s namesake, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the patroness of immigrants.
Gibble, who now serves as president of the CRS Ambassadors, interns at the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition. Each day, he helps newly naturalized U.S. citizens register to vote, and works with immigrants to ensure they are aware of public services offered to them. Gibble last year met with the aide to then Senator Arlen Specter as part of the “Justice for Immigrants” campaign; lobbied in Washington, D.C. for comprehensive immigration reform; and hosted an immigration reform rally at Cabrini with students from St. Joseph’s University.
“Lobbying in Washington, D.C. is the favorite thing I’ve done since I’ve been at Cabrini,” said Gibble, who’s also lobbied in D.C. for peace in Sudan, reconstruction efforts in Haiti, women’s empowerment, an end to human trafficking, and fairer trade treaties. “Instead of talking about change, we’re going down to the nation’s Capitol and talking to representatives to actively bring change.”
Gibble also uses various media channels and opportunities that Cabrini affords him to address issues of social justice. As news editor for the Loquitur, Cabrini’s student newspaper, Gibble has interviewed undocumented immigrants and covered President Barack Obama’s visit to Philadelphia in October 2010, the Marcellus Shale drilling debate, and both the Restoring Honor and the March for America rallies in Washington, D.C.
“Although I didn’t get a chance to interview him, getting the press pass for the President’s visit was really cool,” Gibble said with a laugh.
The extracurricular activities and internship opportunities that Cabrini is known for were two reasons why Gibble enrolled. He has immersed himself in these opportunities, such as interning at the Philadelphia political watchdog group the Committee of Seventy and the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
Gibble’s first-choice post-graduation plan is an 11-month program with Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby. He also is considering graduate schools to study international development in human security, which would allow him to continue to focus on international refugees and immigration reform.