Courageous Voices: Confronting Critical Issues

With goals rooted in Catholic Social Teaching, the Center for Community Engagement at Saint Thomas University (FL) aims to empower communities, enhance academic learning, and encourage spiritual and civic growth. The center supports faculty and student projects developed to offer concrete solutions to problems facing the poor and marginalized in the local, regional, and international communities. Programs range from psychology faculty and students partnering with inner-city organizations to address truancy and youth violence in Miami, to business students working with coffee growers in Haiti to export their beans directly to the United States.  View the Center’s brochure or watch their YouTube video for more information.

This post concludes our Courageous Voices series, short stories about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.

Courageous Voices: Taking a Vocal Stand on Immigration Reform

College and university presidents occupy a unique position, able to use their status and visibility to call attention to critical issues. In 2013, more than 100 ACCU presidents signed a plea to Congress to exercise compassion and enact commonsense immigration reform. And in 2014, Marygrove College president David Fike appealed to President Obama to address the crisis of refugee children fleeing Central America, rallying over 50 ACCU presidents to sign a statement affirming their commitment to humanitarian support for the refugees.

Over the next few weeks, we will release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities.  Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.

Courageous Voices: Inspiring the Next Generation of Bold Church Leaders

Founded as a diocesan college, Carroll College maintains a special focus on service to parish communities throughout the diocese and the greater Helena, Montana area. For over ten years, faculty in the Theology Department have taught as part of the Diocese of Helena’s Pastoral Ministry Program, leading participants through study of the Bible, Church doctrine, Christian history, liturgy, spirituality, ethics, and leadership skills. This two-year program trains laypeople to be more effective leaders in their parish communities.

Similarly, the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership at Marian University (IN) educates and forms students to serve as leaders in the Church or in faith-based non-profits, schools, or healthcare environments. The program is grounded in Franciscan values and graduates students who are well-formed in the faith and prepared to be leaders in the Church.

Over the next few weeks, we will release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities.  Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.

Courageous Voices: Sharing the Perspectives of Young Catholic Women

At a time when Catholic youth are falling away from the faith, students at Saint Mary’s College (IN) had the bold notion to share the perspectives of young Catholic women directly with Pope Francis. With their “Voices of Young Catholic Women” project, they invited women born between 1981 and 1995 to write about their love of the Catholic faith, their concerns and hardships, and even their suggestions for how the Church might better engage women like them. Sixteen institutions participated in the project, resulting in 225 heartfelt letters, artwork, and a handmade stole, all hand-delivered to the Pope in Rome by St. Mary’s president Carol Ann Mooney, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, and two St. Mary’s students.  The project will be shared this week at the Madeleva Lecture Series, which has highlighted the work of women in theology for 30 years.  The event will feature a panel discussion of the project, sociological information on women millenials and the Church, and reflections on moving forward.

Over the next few weeks, we will release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities.  Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.

Courageous Voices: Investing for the Long Term

Regis College has committed to help address the longstanding shortage of healthcare workers in Haiti through the Regis College Haiti Project. The Regis College School of Nursing, Science, and Health Professions has partnered with the Haitian Ministry of Health, private and public nursing school leaders in Haiti, and a Boston-based medical charity to launch an innovative, master’s degree education and leadership program for Haitian nursing faculty, most of whom have the equivalent of an associate degree. Upon graduation, the students will become nursing faculty who will then lead the institutionalization of the program in Haiti for future nurses.  The first cohort graduated in February 2014–watch the project video to learn more about the impact the program has had on them and to learn more about the project.

Over the next few weeks, we will release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities.  Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.

Courageous Voices: Heeding the Call to Community

At the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), faculty-mentored community clinics set an example for students to respond to the needs of the community by active participation. UDM runs 17 community clinics (including law, dentistry, and counseling), making these services accessible to those who are unable to afford them. The Law School is one of the few programs in the country that require students to work in the clinic, directly carrying out the school’s mission of experiential learning and service to others.  In 2013-2014, the dental clinic provided 67,395 patient visits, including partnering with the Society of St. Vincent DePaul to run a free dental clinic, and providing services to underserved populations such as children in the foster care system and veteran.  The counseling clinic provides no-cost services to the community, including personal counseling, family and child counseling, addictions counseling, court ordered counseling, career counseling and group counseling.  In all of these clinics, students work directly with those marginalized by poverty, gaining a lifelong appreciation of the importance of ministering to those in your own community.

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities.  Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.

Courageous Voices: Giving Voice to the Voiceless

More than 900 people were murdered in Chicago in 2011 and 2012. Seeking to raise the victims of violence beyond mere statistics,  English professor Miles Harvey and his students from DePaul University set out to collect their stories. With the help of faculty, the students’ efforts resulted in a documentary play, “How Long Will I Cry? Voices of Youth Violence.” It premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre and toured through several Chicago neighborhoods, reaching thousands of Chicagoans.

A book of victims’ oral history narratives was later published, with over 13,000 copies printed by Big Shoulders Books press.  Big Shoulders engages graduate students in DePaul’s Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing program to publish books that engage the Chicago community and contribute to discussions around injustice and inequality.  To order the free book, let the editors know how you are helping fight youth violence in Chicago or your local community.  To learn more about Big Shoulders Books, visit their website and follow their blog.

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities.  Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter.  If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.