University of Dallas Journeys to Justice with Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Diocesan Catholic Campaign for Human Development staff in Dallas, TX partnered with the University of Dallas to educate students about the reality of poverty in the United States.  Working together, they created the Journey to Justice Retreat (J2J) to teach students about poverty in the local community and throughout the country. Participants learned about local and national poverty through resources such as Poverty USA, CCHD’s online poverty resource.

To increase awareness of CCHD and give concrete witness to its work, CCHD-funded organization Texas Tenant Union (TTU) was featured throughout the retreat. TTU is a community organizing group dedicated to fighting for more and better low-income housing through legislation, free legal counsel for low-income tenants, and rights education and counseling for tenants. The 2015-16 CCHD intern Colleen says the retreat showed students the importance of CCHD in that TTU “wouldn’t have been able to do nearly as much without the CCHD resources” available to them, which inspired many students to get involved with anti-poverty organizations. Journey to Justice is just one way in which the University lives its Catholic identity and increases student awareness and involvement in social justice in their local communities.

Learn more about CCHD and other successful campus partnerships here!

 

Nominate a Young Leader for the 2016 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award

Do you know a young Catholic leader dedicated to fighting poverty and injustice in the United States? The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites you to nominate individuals between the ages of 18-40 to receive the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award.

The Bernardin Award is meant to:

  • Recognize new and future leadership against poverty and injustice
  • Promote young people as leaders in our communities
  • Honor outstanding young leaders and their organizations/ parishes
  • Strengthen the Catholic community’s participation in CCHD’s anti-poverty mission

In the past, the award has been given to individuals who are dedicated to fighting against injustice, fighting for immigrants, and working towards fair housing. Learn more about the award and download the nomination form here! Nominations should be submitted no later than July 31, 2016. 

Looking Back on CSMG 2016

From January 23 – 26, 2016, students, faculty and staff from Catholic colleges and universities participated in the CSMG 2016 Young Leaders Initiative, along with hundreds of other ministry leaders.  We have a lot of pictures to share with you–check them out on the CSMG 2016 Storify! To see what our YLI participants and other attendees thought of CSMG, check out our Twitter feed at #CSMG2016!

For some more resources, be sure to take advantage of the following:

Finally, be sure to plan ahead! While there is no CSMG in 2017, we will be having Virtual CSMG District Visits on February 20-24, 2017, with a preparatory webinar on February 7. Fortunately, there will be a CSMG in 2018! We hope to see you on February 3-6, 2018 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.!

ACCU Members Offer a “Hand Up”

Is your campus looking for a way to have a lasting effect on your local community? Partnering with a locally focused agency committed to Catholic values may provide your college or university with the vehicle it’s looking for.

ACCU member colleges and universities have a long history of partnering with community groups funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). CCHD is the U.S. Catholic bishops’ national anti-poverty program, which works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families, and communities. CCHD accomplishes these goals by disseminating grants to various community organizations that reflect the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. The partnerships between ACCU members and CCHD groups create lasting bonds and result in a variety of projects. This year, ACCU member institutions engaged with CCHD groups in new and creative ways.

One example of partnership is Xavier University (OH) faculty, students, and staff with Interfaith Business Builders (IBB), a CCHD-funded group in Cincinnati. IBB recently opened Community Blend, a cooperative coffee shop where employees own an equal share of the business and fully participate in the company’s decision-making processes. Xavier University students and faculty have helped with Community Blend’s business plan in the past, and this year they engaged with the cooperative by creating its communications platform.

In Wendy Maxian’s capstone class for seniors studying public relations, students conducted original research on Community Blend, and then created a strategic communications plan for the new business. Dr. Maxian, a professor of communication arts, said that her students appreciated the chance to create a real communications plan that a business will use, rather than an imaginary one as an assignment. Students enjoyed learning about the cooperative business model from Community Blend employee-owners, who also participated in the class. Dr. Maxian explains, “As a cooperative business, Community Blend’s values very much line up with Xavier’s Catholic and Jesuit values. I think it’s important for students to see those values in a context other than what they’d find on campus.”

Future projects between Xavier University and Community Blend will focus on sustainability initiatives. Kathleen Smythe, a professor of history, has been working with other Xavier faculty members, IBB representatives, and Community Blend employee-owners to create a capstone course for sustainability majors, which will focus on sustainability, democracy, economic and political opportunity, and participation. The class will include readings, discussions, and field trips, specifically working with Community Blend employee-owners to enrich students’ learning outside the classroom. Dr. Smythe noted the value of the real-world experience that the students will gain from the endeavor. “The university has a moral and educational obligation to students to teach them the skills that will enable them to go out into the world,” she explained.

Another example of partnership includes the student group Ambrosians for Peace and Justice (APJ) at St. Ambrose University (IA), working with the CCHD-funded group Quad Cities Interfaith (QCI). This relationship has been active for six years, and students from APJ assist QCI with a variety of initiatives. One student serves on QCI’s health care task force, which advocates for health equity, including access to health care for all members of the community. Another student serves on the immigration task force and spoke with the area’s sheriff about immigration procedures and customs enforcement. Last year, APJ students worked with QCI to try to pass state legislation banning the practice of shackling women prisoners during childbirth. While the bill passed in Iowa’s House of Representatives, it did not pass in the Senate; QCI has plans to re-introduce the legislation next year.

APJ’s vice president Corrigan Goldsmith advised, “It’s very challenging work, but realizing that you can change a person’s life is worth it – you can’t change the entire system in a year, but keep laying the bricks and don’t get discouraged.” Next year, APJ will continue its collaboration with QCI, focusing on topics related to restorative justice.

Partnering with CCHD groups to offer a “hand up” to those in poverty is a way for Catholic universities to educate their students about living out the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. These examples from Xavier University and St. Ambrose University showcase how ACCU member institutions encourage their students to put their faith into action while using skills and knowledge from their programs of study to help the community.

Is your campus interested in getting involved with CCHD to alleviate poverty in your community? ACCU can help facilitate partnerships with CCHD groups, which offer the occasion for students to participate in advocacy, volunteering, service learning, and other educational experiences. To learn more about this opportunity, visit our webpage.

Andrea Price is a graduate student at Georgetown University and the Peace and Justice Intern at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.