Inclusion on Campus: Reach Out to National Organizations to Learn More

Many organizations and federal agencies offer support to students from underrepresented backgrounds, their families, and institutions that want to serve them. The U.S. Department of Education lists such offices here.

Organizations like the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities offer useful programming and research for campuses, as does Excelencia in Education. Excelencia in Education is an organization dedicated to Latino student success in higher education by providing data-driven analysis of the educational status of Latinos. Excelencia in Education is a resource for influencing policy at the institutional, state, and national level and a network of educators and policymakers.

ACCU member Mexican American Catholic College also offers programming for other Catholic colleges that want to better serve the Hispanic population.

This post concludes our “Inclusion on Campus” series, short stories about how Catholic institutions are promoting diversity as an expression of God’s grandeur. To learn more, read the first blog post in the Inclusion on Campus series, or see the full list of tips on the ACCU website.  Want to share a promising practice from your campus?  We welcome you to leave a comment or email Lexie Bradley (abradley@accunet.org) to share your success story.

Labeling for Lent Campaign to Prevent Human Trafficking Extended Through April

Labeling for Lent

The United States imports 80-90% of its seafood, and tens of thousands of people are exploited at every link in the seafood harvesting and production chain. The Labeling for Lent campaign is an effort to demonstrate that consumers would like to have the information needed, through appropriate product labeling, to purchase slave-free seafood. The Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking  (CCOAHT) is collecting data on this through a nationwide survey to the Catholic community- now extended through the end of April!

The Labeling for Lent campaign builds on the coalition’s success last year with its national postcard campaign against trafficking in the international fishing industry. During that campaign, participants sent signed postcards to StarKist and Costco, requesting that they do all in their power to maintain supply chains that are free of forced labor.

Please consider filling out the survey to have your voice heard on ending human trafficking in the seafood industry.

Justice for Immigrants: Faces of Migration

Stranger and Welcomed

Justice for Immigrants, a campaign by the USCCB and other national Catholic networks in support of immigration reform, is sharing a new story on “Faces of Migration” each week.  “Faces of Migration” features refugees who have had an impact on their community.

Read their stories on the JFI website, and check back weekly for new updates.

 

Catholic Climate Covenant Webinar: “Just Transition”

Join Catholic Climate Covenant on Thursday, March 23 for their next webinar:

Just Transition: Shrinking our Carbon Footprint While Leaving No One Behind
2:00-3:00 p.m. (Eastern time)

Presenters: Dr. Erin Lothes Biviano, Assistant Professor of Theology at the College of Saint Elizabeth, New Jersey; and Dr. Jessica Wrobleski, Assistant Professor of Theology & Religious Studies at Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia.

REGISTER HERE

The webinar will focus on:

1) How poor and vulnerable communities bear the biggest burden of the impacts and consequences of climate change and how these same communities bear the biggest burden of the primary cause of climate change–fossil fuel extraction, transportation and combustion.

2) How we address the challenges of the transition to a clean energy economy and the rebuilding of communities left behind as we move away from a fossil-fuels based economy.

3) What Catholic Social Teaching has to say about a just transition to a clean energy economy and the communities impacted by the transition. Special focus will be given to Appalachia and how the decline of the coal economy has devastated an already forgotten region.

An Interview with Global Sisters Report Editor Gail DeGeorge

Gail DeGeorge is the editor of Global Sisters Report, a project of National Catholic Reporter. Given the publication’s commitment to Catholic social teaching and the close ties between higher education and Catholic sisters, ACCU hosted an interview with Gail DeGeorge on the connection between ACCU member institutions and Global Sisters Report.

ACCU: Tell us about Global Sisters Report.  How did the project get started and what are the goals of the publication?

Gail DeGeorge: Global Sisters Report is a website publication of the National Catholic Reporter that reports on and gives voice to women religious who carry out the Catholic Church’s mission of mercy and social justice. Its network of journalists writes about sisters around the world who work against human trafficking, run workshops to help empower women, aid indigenous people against environmental threats posed by mining (including being witnesses at Standing Rock against the pipeline); run clinics in poor communities, and lobby in the halls of Congress and the United Nations for the rights of the marginalized and forgotten. Sisters also write columns for GSR about spirituality; religious life in the U.S., Africa, and Asia; and their missions and ministries. In addition to editors and reporters, GSR has two sisters on staff who work to encourage and develop columns by sisters, edit, and write commentary. NCR had written about the work of women religious since its founding in 1964 and wanted to expand on that coverage. In late 2008, it approached the Hilton Foundation for funding for a special three-year project entitled “Women Religious: Lives of Justice and Mercy.” NCR then received a planning grant in 2011 to research the formation of a dedicated website focused on women religious. The project was funded, developed and then launched in April 2014.

ACCU: Many Catholic college and universities were founded by sisters and continue to have sisters actively involved with campus leadership. In what ways do religious sisters impart the values of their order and of their colleges into the social justice work that they do?

GDG: For decades, America’s sisters, with foresight, determination, and creativity have been building a foundation that will sustain the charism of their order when they are no longer at the helm. These initiatives include developing mission chairs/officers, lay leadership and associate programs, retreats, book study groups that reinforce the values of the order, and even, at Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania, periodic afternoon teas, bringing staff and faculty together to assess how the Catholic Franciscan mission is being integrated into campus life. One example: Minnesota’s St. Catherine University has created three mission chairs to reinforce each element of the school values: Catholic, Women, and Liberal Arts. In initiating a new governance structure, they wrote a new covenant, developing an educational program for the Board of Trustees and creating a Sponsorship Council made up of four sisters and three lay trustees.

ACCU: What are some of the ways you have seen sisters engage the next generation, such as college students, in their social justice ministry?

GDG: When the mission of the order is woven into the institutional fabric, students notice and participate.  At St. Catherine, sisters have volunteered to become prayer partners with students, who also have the opportunity to work on social justice issues like human trafficking and participate in Celeste’s Dream, a program that allows young adults to experience the mission and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Chestnut Hill College has the 1650 Society (a mission-focused honor society). The school also offers service trips to Appalachia and Tanzania as well as the chance to work with the inner-city poor in Camden, New Jersey.  At Immaculata University in Immaculata, Pennsylvania, home of the IHM Sisters, students tutor children in West Philadelphia, work at a local food bank and spend time with retired sisters next door at Camilla Hall, among other opportunities.

ACCU: How can faculty in Catholic higher education, especially those involved with peace and justice work, engage with Global Sisters Report? 

GDG: Check out the Global Sisters Report website, encourage students to do so, and sign up for e-mail alerts!  The website is clearly designed for various social justice themes – environment, trafficking, migration – and the search tool allows for more in-depth searches. Also, join in the discussions on Global Sisters Reports’ social media pages on Facebook, Twitter (@sistersreport), and Instagram.  We also have a feature “Notes from the Field” in which young adult volunteers – usually through Catholic Volunteer Network but also those who intern or work with sister congregations – write blogs. These are excellent examples of young people living out the Church’s social justice and service mission.

ACCU: In what ways can the news and stories shared by Global Sisters Report inform the way that Catholic colleges and universities, including students, campus ministers, mission officers, and administrators, work to promote Catholic social teaching principles?

 GDG: Sisters are on the front lines on a variety of social justice issues. They serve people who are affected by government policy decisions, funding cuts, and environmental crises. Their autonomy often allows them to be more outspoken than priests and other clergy in advocating for social change. Many, for instance, actively incorporate Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si, into their work. Sisters in Africa are seeking common ground between their missions with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Their voice is vital to include in discussions about — and efforts to carry out — Catholic social teaching principles.