Boston College Receives Grant to Work with Underserved Students

Congratulations to the Lynch School of Education at Boston College for being rewarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation! This grant will “engage low-income high school students in a science and emerging agricultural technology project, designed to guide them in conducting scientific research and prepare them for post-secondary scientific study.” This project, called the “Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers,” will involve 30 Boston public school students from populations that are underrepresented in science.

This project will help prepare students for post-secondary education and will give them the opportunity to fulfill future career aspirations. Lynch School Professor of Science Education, Michael Barnett, notes “This program will build on the capacity of our youth participants to make potential scientific discoveries, as well as develop youth leaders who will become role models in their community through mentorship.”

To read more about the grant received by Boston College, visit Boston College news.

Briar Cliff University Supports Students Affected by Sexual Assault

During the month of April, Briar Cliff University showed their support for those affected by sexual assault by hosting a variety of events throughout the month. Since the reportings of high instances of sexual assault in the media, the University decided to take stand during Sexual Assault Awareness month. Studies have found that over 50% of female college students have experienced sexual harassment or assault at some point in their lives. Given this statistic it is important that universities show their support for their students.

Events throughout the month were sponsored by the Health and Counseling Center, C.H.O.I.C.E.S., and Catholic Daughters of America. A series of events were hosted including a free self-defense class. During the class, a jiu jitsu instructor, focused on situational awareness and safety techniques as well as moves on how to escape situations and feel confident in their abilities.

To read more about how Briar Cliff honored sexual assault month, visit Briar Cliff news.

Caldwell University Empowers Men and Women with Vision Loss

Caldwell University graduate students are using creative ways to combine academics and service. Graduate art therapy students “helped empower men and women with vision loss in the art-making process at a day of service.” The University partnered with the Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey and led clients by making mandalas using a variety of materials and objects.

Students noted that “it was an incredible experience to see the art therapy process done almost solely by feel, by how the clients felt when they grabbed materials, or how the materials were described and communicated.” The experience spoke to the multi-sensory quality of art materials and art making. Students also noted that since “many of the clients had not participated in artwork for years and doubted their abilities, it was particularly empowering for them to realize what they could do.”

To read more about this program, visit Caldwell news.

Saint Peter’s University Hosts Forum on Domestic Violence

Saint Peter’s University is using their voice to speak out against the issue of domestic violence. The Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peter’s recently hosted an empowerment forum, “Women Standing Against Domestic Violence.” During a time when women are speaking out about violence and sexual harassment, Saint Peter’s is adding to the conversation by having a discussion on the effects of domestic violence and what different organizations are doing to support women in these vulnerable situations.

The panel began with a presentation of some startling statistics to get the conversation going. It was noted that “every nine seconds a women is beaten or assaulted; one in four women will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes; three women are murdered in the U.S. every day by a current or former male partner.” These statistics set the scene as various women told their stories of domestic violence. They shared the struggle and pain they endured while at the same time still loving their partner. The cycle of abuse is a difficult one to break and these women came out of their situations stronger than before.

There was then a panel discussion featuring various leaders of organizations that all seek to support women and families in vulnerable situations. For example, WomenRising is an organization in Jersey City that “supports women and families from crisis to self-sufficiency by providing domestic violence services, permanent housing, workforce development, and several others necessary services. “Women Standing Against Domestic Violence” was an event that helped build awareness of domestic violence and empowered those to spread the word and support these women.

To read more about “Women Standing Against Domestic Violence,” visit Saint Peter’s news.

Rivier University’s School of Nursing allows for Underrepresented Students to Succeed

Rivier University’s Project Archive continues to find success since the program was first developed in 2014. Project Achieve is a “program designed to increase diversity in the nursing workforce that offers underrepresented student groups with opportunities to expand their understanding of nursing careers and to hone study strategies that lead to academic success.” Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President, noted that “national data shows that underrepresented students benefit significantly through a pre-orientation to the academic environment.” The results and students of Project Achieve reflect this data. Underrepresented nursing students enrolled in their final year of the RN-BS program throughout the 2015 and 2017 produced a 100% passing rate of the NCLEX-RN. Of the seventeen participating students in 2017 Project Achieve, seven languages are spoken and five continents are represented.

Project Achieve accomplishes their goals by offering first-year students the opportunity to participate in a summer enrichment program that focuses on the study of anatomy and physiology, nursing professionalism, cultural development, research skills, and an orientation to clinical expectations. In addition, students enrolled in Project Achieve take part in team building and “collective problem-solving activities to strengthen their confidence, expand their skills, and ease their transition to university life.” Rivier University strives to equip all students with the necessary tools to succeed academically, mentally and spiritually, as demonstrated by Project Achieve.

To hear more about Project Achieve, visit Rivier news.

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: Challenging Stereotypes and Upholding Human Dignity

Students in Manhattan College‘s “Engaging, Educating, Empowering Means Change” course meet for class at Rikers Island jail complex, with an equal number of prisoners enrolled in the course as their classmates. The primary goal is to correct the common perception that people who live in poverty, especially those with a criminal record, are unworthy of the social privileges that the college’s students enjoy. The course gives an opportunity for the students from Manhattan College and Rikers Island to build relationships with one another, challenging common assumptions and stereotypes about those who live on the margins of society.  Upon their release, the formerly incarcerated students have an opportunity to attend the college. Administrators have noted that when the two groups of students reunite on campus, they tend to look out for one another – and both become advocates for reform of the prison system.

To learn more about the course, read the article “The Prison Class” in America.

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.