St. Edward’s Students Combine Academics with Service

St. Edward’s University emphasizes the connection between service and learning. Many students participate in various services that are closely connected to what they learn inside the classroom across a variety of majors. Recently St. Edward’s has taken time to highlight different work that students have accomplished during their time on campus.

One communications major was prompted on his freshman year to begin work on combating sexual assault. The student explains how he wrote a paper on sexual assault his freshman year which awakened him to startling statistics and laws that make it difficult for those affected to seek help and reparation. Deeply affected by this paper, he proceed to join “It’s On Us”, which is an action week hosted by St. Edward’s that is focused on sexual assault awareness and prevention. This week long event is great way for students to become aware of and then take action through the course of their academic careers as well as their lives, to combat sexual assault.

To read more about how St. Edward’s connects service and learning, visit St. Edward’s news.

Benedictine College Launches Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign

Benedictine College has launched a human trafficking awareness campaign for the spring semester, beginning with a showing of the film End It. The campaign is being hosted by the Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassadors at Benedictine College. After the film showing, students were given an opportunity to write to their congressman as a call to action. The campaign will continue throughout the rest of the semester, hosting events such as a solidarity vigil and a lecture given by trafficking abolitionist Dr. Shalina Stilley.

President of the CRS Benedictine chapter, Hannah Voss, noted that “The campaign’s motto is ‘I am the cause, I am the solution.’ It ties in our solidarity as individuals and our roles.”

Read more in Benedictine’s student newspaper, The Circuit.

Catholic Colleges and Universities Raise Awareness During Hunger and Homelessness Week

Catholic colleges and universities across the nation observed National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 15-21, 2016. The week, began by Villanova University in 1975, has since spread to over 700 campuses and communities, becoming the most widely organized hunger and homelessness event of its type nationwide.  Here are some examples from Catholic colleges:

Villanova University organized a food drive, a solidarity sleepout, and interfaith vigils on the issue of hunger and homelessness.

At Assumption College, Social Justice Ambassadors assembled “Helping Hands” bags to distribute to individuals on the street, encouraged students in the dining hall to eat what a typical meal would be at a soup kitchen, and also held a solidarity sleepout.

Saint John’s University campus ministry sponsored many events including a poverty simulation, a benefit concert, and a service opportunity as part of the week.

The Catholic University of America hosted a number of events such as a hunger banquet, a way of the cross prayer service focused on migration, and a speaker event with local advocate for those who are homeless.

These Catholic colleges and universities, and many others, are reflecting on the Catholic Social Teaching, the option for the poor and vulnerable, creatively tackling direct engagement and awareness in the issues of hunger and homelessness.

Did your campus observe Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week? Share it with us! Email Lexie Bradley.

 

 

Seattle University Raises Awareness of Homelessness

Earlier this month, Seattle University and the University of Washington came together to bring awareness of homelessness in Seattle to their campuses.

The two campuses jointly sponsored an event, titled “Ending Homelessness in Seattle,” featuring Edward Murray, Mayor of Seattle, along with experts on homelessness, according to a National Catholic Reporter article.

For Seattle University president Fr. Stephen Sundborg, SJ, the issue of homelessness is of paramount importance for both the University and Seattle as a whole. He noted that while three of five Seattle homeless men and women are in shelters or transitional housing in the winter, two of five are still on the street.  He says, “It is not like this is something ignored or underplayed in our region, […] but it remains a state of emergency – a shock and scandal that the problem is getting worse rather than better.”

 

Food for Thought Friday: Because of One Jerry Can

Food for Thought FridaySaint Louis University’s Hannah Vestal shares her story of how carrying a forty pound jerry can not only changed her life but the lives of those suffering from the water crisis. What started as an act of support for a friend, ultimately turned into Vestal carrying a forty pound jerry can everywhere she went for eight months.

This act of solidarity changed her outlook on the world and helped inspire other students to spread awareness about the water crisis. It also elicited a response from her Senator, and raised over $7,500 to purchase a new windmill aqueduct for a village in Panama. Her story reminds us that significant change can be sparked by simple actions. Read the whole story in Millenial.

Read more about Catholic higher education, sustainability and the environment on the ACCU website. 

CRS University Resources: Climate Change and More

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) University offers several resources and ways for your campus to engage in Catholic Social Teaching and climate change activism. One of the most prominent ways in which CRS University fosters student and faculty engagement is through the Student Ambassador Program. By getting involved with or starting chapters at their universities and colleges, students and faculty will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills through learning about and educating their campuses on poverty and injustice around the world. Visit the CRS University website for more information on how to get involved with your university’s chapter or even start your own!

Faculty have the chance to learn more and impart their knowledge of climate change and catholic social teaching through the Faculty Learning Commons (FLC) program. Through FLC, faculty may access resources for the classroom such as course material and discussion guides, multimedia presentations, and suggestions for local action. For the Fall 2015 semester, FLC offers informational sessions on the December 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and the Climate Change in the World’s Most Vulnerable Places.

Additionally, CRS University offers the CRS Global Campus program. This is designed to promote global solidarity by forming an institutional partnership between CRS and the member colleges and universities. The partnership gives Global Campuses access to training and professional development, CRS staff and partner speakers and academic and campus resources. For more information on the program and how to get your campus involved, please visit the Global Campus program website.

Specifically related to environmental justice, CRS University has begun the “I am Climate Change” social media campaign, which is directed towards college students. In addition to instructions on how to get involved on social media, the website has a full calendar of campaign events, including rallies, advocacy trainings, and more. The campaign also offers an easy format to contact your senator and representative, with a pre-written letter urging the addressee to approve funding for President Obama’s $500 million request for the Green Climate Fund. “I am Climate Change” encourages followers to reflect upon and live by the mantra: “I am the cause. I am the solution. I am climate change” and to use the hashtag #iamclimatechange where ever possible.

PopeFrancis_ClimateResponsibility

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking this Sunday

Sunday, February 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita*, will be the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. Campus communities across the country are encouraged to organize their own local events. Sample prayer services and other resources are available from the Global Freedom Network. Through prayer and action, we can comfort and help empower our brothers and sisters who have suffered through this affront to human dignity. In the words of the Committee Chairman for Migration, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S.: “If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.”

The Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT), convened by the USCCB, has crafted a set of “New Years’ Resolutions Against Human Trafficking,” a list of actions related to trafficking for the public to commit to as 2015 New Years’ resolutions. It’s not too late! We invite you to commit to the resolutions, share them with your colleagues and students, and use #SlavesNoMore on social media to raise awareness for the issue of human trafficking and what your agencies and communities are doing to respond.

 

*St. Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian nun and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering. She was declared a Saint in 2000.

Response to the Refugee Situation

The ACCU President and many presidents of ACCU member colleges and universities have signed a letter of support drawing attention to the child refugee crisis. This letter, The Plight of Child Refugees Tests the American Character: A Statement by Catholic Higher Education Leaders, highlights the urgency and the desperation of the situation of child refugees, drawing attention to our duty as a nation and as Catholics to care for the most vulnerable. Presidents of Catholic colleges and universities pledge to support child refugees, especially by raising awareness of the issue on campus.

ACCU and its member colleges were recently featured in an Inside Higher Ed article which drew attention to the letter of support.   Additionally, Catholic organizations have orchestrated humanitarian responses, created children’s services resources, and have created material to raise awareness about the refugee children and their situation.