By Fernanda M. Tovar
She is a student, a wife, a humanitarian, an advisor for Organización Latina Estudiantil (OLE) and the College of Arts and Humanities representative.
Lacy Lydia Nerud, who learned Spanish as her second language, is a senior and Spanish linguistics major with a minor in communications.
Nerud juggles a busy life to see the smiles on people’s faces. She strives to help others in any way possible, whether she volunteers in neighboring cities, such as downtown Los Angeles, or out of the country with her friends. Nerud has an extensive background with community service.
Originally from Minnesota, Nerud, 29, moved to California when she was 19. This move was the first time Nerud was on her own; it was a journey that helped her figure out who she really is.
Nerud’s involvement on and off campus has given her the chance to participate in many organizations that strive to help and provide for others.
Nerud introduced Monday Night Mission to OLE and friends. Originally only taking place on Mondays, Monday Night Mission now serves from Monday to Friday nights.
Volunteers feed the homeless a meal of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit and water. They also donate clothes to the residents of Skid Row, which is in downtown L.A.
Nerud has influenced other Toros, such as alumna Nazaret Ramírez, to get involved. Ramirez volunteers Wednesdays and has done so for more than a year.
Nerud and her friends also volunteer at an orphanage in Tijuana. They carpool to San Deigo and cross the border by foot with goods collected for children in need.
They deliver nonperishables, new clothes, toys and soy formula for the babies and children of the orphanage. They also spend the day with the kids, playing and doing extracurricular activities.
“Once you get to the orphanage all the kids greet you with their arms wide open, and they run towards you,” Nerud said. “It’s like a party for them. They already know it’s going to be a fun day.”
Nerud describes these orphanage trips as a touching experience.
“You go in there thinking, ‘Wow, I’m really going to touch these kids’ lives and make a difference,’” she said. “But in the end, you are the one that is inspired by them.”
When Nerud plans events for work, she finds a way to incorporate ideas of giving to others.
Nerud was in charge of throwing a mixer for the College of Arts and Humanities last fall and this spring, as well. She put together a committee that consisted of representatives from over 10 different clubs, organizations and departments within the college, such as Society of Independent Student Journalists, the Peace Club, O.L.E., #IHEARTDH, and ASI.
There were over 100 people in attendance, including dean of the College of Arts and the dean of Humanities, Mitch Avila.
“It was really nice to see him there and [being] active with us,” Nerud said.
They were able to collect more than 200 toiletries during the event, and the proceeds went toward the Monday Night Mission.
To put this event together, Nerud and the committee obtained help from organizations such as ASI, which provided Dominguez Hills gear for raffle prizes, #IHEARTDH which provided custom T-shirts, and Porto’s Bakery, which donated food.
Nerud was also grateful for the different departments that donated items and the time to piece the event together.
The Art Department and DH Arts Collective donated artwork to be displayed during the event. Red Print provided posters. A member of the Music Department sang and played the guitar.
“It really was a team effort,” Nerud said. “I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.”
Nerud is constantly figuring out other ways to do something to better the lives of others, whether it is her fellow students or complete strangers.
“I’m a better person because of these experiences,” Nerud said.