Saint Michael’s College Combats Hate with Kindness

The Martin Luther King Jr. Society of Saint Michael’s College in Vermont hosted speaker Arno Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate. Michaelis was brought to campus to share his story and educate the campus on hate and how to combat it. Michaelis is a former member of a white power skinhead group and front man for the hate band Centurion. Michaelis re-called the chain of events that led him to this lifestyle, including his childhood and desire to be hated, that drew him to become a neo-Nazi. Growing up with an alcoholic father, living in a miserable home environment, pushing everyone that loved him away, becoming a school bully, street fighting, vandalism and alcohol, were all significant factors that lead him to white supremacy. According to Michaelis, hate became his perpetual state of mind and he received this immense high when people hated him.

The turning point for Michaelis was an encounter with one of his coworkers. Michaelis recalls; “I was this miserable, pathetic, hungover fool, and I’m starving… and one of the black guys at work was sitting down, and he has his lunch… and he’s got a sandwich that he’s cut in half, and he sees me there in the corner and he’s like ‘hey, skinhead, you want half this sandwich?” Michaelis recalls how it was the kindness of those who forced him to face his own hypocrisy that led to him to be freed from hate. Michaelis now works with “the organization Serve 2 Unite, which is dedicated to helping young people create inclusive, safe, and peaceful communities. He travels across the country sharing his story in an effort to combat the kind of hate he once spread.”

To read more about Arno Michaelis’s speech, please view Saint Michael’s College news.

Saint Michael’s College Responds to Laudato Si’ with Eco-Justice Conference

Saint Michael’s College in Vermont responded to topics addressed in Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s 2015 Encyclical, by hosting a diocesan eco-justice conference. “The Action for Ecological Justice: Celebrating a Year of Creation” was held on September 20th from 10 AM to 5 PM and included faculty, students and alumni.  As part of the Year of Creation, St. Michael’s college co-sponsored the event with the Diocese of Burlington.

The keynote address was given by former CEO and president of Catholic Relief Services, Dr. Carolyn Woo. It addressed “the connections between human action, climate change, environmental degradation, and human suffering” through Dr. Woo’s perspective of working with those most effected by climate change and environmental degradation.

Breakout sessions followed each address and covered a variety of topics found in Laudato Si’, from eco-spirituality to immigration and activism. The day closed with song and praise and included new music from the Diocese, including their new ‘Our Common Home’ collection. This event served as a reminder that we are all called to be global disciples who advocate and care for all of God’s creation.

To learn more about the conference click here.

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!