Jesuit College and University Student Body Presidents Sign Joint Statement on Racial Injustice

This spring, the student government leaders of all twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities issued a joint statement regarding racial injustice and higher education.

The statement is a page-long declaration of the student body presidents’ support for students of color in higher education, initiatives to address racial inequalities in Jesuit higher education, and for increased dialogue on the subject. The statement notes that it comes at a crucial time in history for higher education, as students of color and their allies have been demonstrating across the nation, “united in calling for an end to racial injustice within institutions of higher education.”

In the statement, the student body presidents showed that advocating for racial justice flows from the Catholic and Jesuit values that are at the foundation of their institutions. They write, “As students of Jesuit institutions, we often hear phrases such as cura personalis (care for the whole person) and ‘men and women for and with others.’ These phrases challenge us to orient our lives and education toward the greater good -a world free from oppression and marginalization.”

How does your college or university address institutional racial injustice? Let us know! 

Laudato Si Release: Act

Earlier today, Pope Francis released his long-awaited encyclical letter, Laudato Si.  We at ACCU are sharing resources and best practices to help our campuses pray for commitment to care for creation, learn about the encyclical and our call to stewardship, and act upon our beliefs to work for the common good.

˜ACT˜

ACCU member institutions have acted upon their call to care for creation through a number of sustainability and environmental justice initiatives.

  • The Catholic Climate Covenant, with support from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities, and the Catholic Campus Ministry Association, have produced Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration (PDF; 3MB).  Through mission-based initiatives, the Toolkit offers practical suggestions to inspire individuals, families, schools, parishes, and dioceses to follow the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change’s St. Francis Pledge.
  • 29 Catholic colleges and universities have taken the St. Francis Pledge, sponsored by the Catholic Climate Covenant, committing to living out the value of care for creation through reflection, action, and advocacy.  These campuses include: Aquinas College (MI), Cabrini College, Chestnut Hill College, College of Saint Benedict, Creighton University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Lewis University, Loyola University Chicago, Marquette University, Mercyhurst University, Mount St. Joseph University, Neumann University, Rosemont College, Saint Anselm College, Saint Francis University, Saint John’s University (MN), Saint Joseph’s College (IN), Saint Mary’s College of California, Saint Michael’s College, Salve Regina University, Seattle University, St. Thomas More College, Stonehill College, University of Notre Dame, University of Portland, Villanova University, Viterbo University, and Xavier University.
  • The Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability at Seattle University lives out a core tenet of the university mission.  The Center has undertaken a number of initiatives, including supporting faculty and student research through fellowships.  Dr. Trileigh Tucker, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Seattle University, and one of CEJS’s first Faculty Fellows, developed a teaching resource on environmental justice, compiling syllabi, assessment methods, and foundational documents used frequently in courses on environmental justice.
  • Benedictine University in Illinois has received a $46,000 Food Scrap Composting Revitalization and Advancement Program (F-SCRAP) grant from the state to allow for the diversion of food scraps generated in the campus cafeteria and other buildings.
  • In spring 2015, Cabrini College held a conference, “Faith, Climate, and Health”, to examine how climate change affects the health of the most vulnerable citizens.
  • At the University of Portland, professors Dr. Russell Butkus and Dr. Steven Kolmes, teach a course entitled “Theology in Ecological Perspective”, exploring Catholic and Christian teaching and environmental science.

Read more ways ACCU member campuses have undertaken sustainability initiatives on the ACCU website.  Check back frequently as we will post new updates and ways that ACCU campuses react to the Laudato Si to the blog!

Jesuit Alumni Give Back

Jesuit universities and organizations are creating opportunities for Jesuit-educated alumni to give back to their communities this spring. Over 20 universities are coordinating programs for volunteers, both for specific, one-time events as well as for ongoing projects. Initiatives include partnering with community organizations, participating in hunger initiatives, helping with some neighborhood spring cleaning, continuing to rebuild the community after Hurricane Sandy, helping communities celebrate Easter, and assisting with Special Olympics events. For a full listing of activities, visit AJCU’s website.

Additional Lenten Resources from Jesuit Colleges

Are you looking for additional resources to help you grow in your faith during the season of Lent?  The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has compiled a long list of Lenten resources, outlining what Jesuit colleges and universities are offering to their campus communities during this liturgical season. Additionally, the page features a number of online resources for prayer and meditation.

Rockhurst University and St. Joseph’s University’s programming includes themes related to peace and justice. Rockhurst created a video that highlights what service means to the university community, and how that community strives to find God in all things. St. Joseph’s is hosting a series called #LentenLunches, which includes a simple meal, conversation, and faith sharing.

To read more about these initiatives and for other Lenten news, including online resources for prayer and meditation, visit AJCU’s website.