Inclusion on Campus: Support Underrepresented Students who are Pursuing High-Need Careers

savethedate-bannerAs Catholic campuses, we strive to build a true sense of community and oneness based on our understanding that we are all children of God. ACCU member institutions have developed many successful initiatives to bring about greater diversity and a stronger sense of inclusion. Here, we share just a few of those practices that have helped forge vibrant, welcoming campus communities.

Underrepresented students may be the first in their families to pursue a career in fields such as science or technology. Offering them specialized resources can help them achieve their goal. St. Mary’s University (Texas) recently received a $5.3 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM program. The five-year grant will fund creation of new STEM programs and include coaching services for Hispanic students. St. Mary’s has seen significant enrollment gains in undergraduate STEM programs since 2010, especially among Hispanic students.

Villanova University hosts a number of efforts, such as a weeklong Diversity in Engineering camp, designed to introduce STEM topics to students in low-income communities and inspire their interest in related careers. Students are introduced to Villanova’s College of Engineering’s programs like international service learning, Sustainable Engineering and Engineering Entrepreneurship to inspire a diverse population of students form different ethnic and social backgrounds to the traditional fields of engineering.

Over the next few weeks, we will release short examples of  diversity at Catholic institutions of Higher Education as part of a series called “Inclusion on Campus”.  Stay tuned to hear how Catholic institutions are promoting diversity as an expression of God’s grandeur!

St. Mary’s University Collaborates with Catholic Charities in Service

One excellent way to engage in Lenten sacrifice is through service to our brothers and sisters in need. In an effort to participate in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX, is partnering this Lent with Catholic Charities of San Antonio for their annual Continuing the Heritage Day of Service, as well as their inaugural “40 Days of Service” campaign.

In contrast to the brand new 40 Days of Service, Continuing the Heritage is a thirteen year old service initiative, in which over 8,500 volunteers have participated in 50,000 hours of service since its inception. This biannual day of service is an opportunity for St. Mary’s University students, staff, faculty to set aside some time to engage with the local community in various projects. From 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, over 500 volunteers served at over twenty different sites in the San Antonio area in projects including gardening, assisting teachers at elementary schools, food preparation, assisting at hospitals, and much more.

Continuing the Heritage kicked off St. Mary’s and Catholic Charities’ first 40 Days of Service. This new initiative will bring St. Mary’s students, staff, and faculty and San Antonio community members together to continue serving their neighbors in need. The various projects include mentoring, organizing donation drives, stocking food donations, tutoring children, distributing food, painting, landscaping and assisting veterans and seniors.

How will your college or university engage in service this Lent? Let us know! 


Academic Year in Review: Fair Trade Firsts

Recently, the Fair Trade Campaigns has released a summary reflecting on the achievements, challenges, and milestones of the past academic year. Listed below are three of the four new Fair Trade Colleges and Universities, which are also ACCU members:

The Fair Trade Campaigns also sent out an end-of-year survey to find out what Fair Trade champions accomplished on campuses across the country this past year. Listed below are some of the interesting statistics:

  • 83% of Campaigns hosted at least 2 Fair Trade events (1/3 of campaigns hosted at least 4!)
  • 435 Fair Trade advocates joined the movement this last year; that’s an average of 10 new advocates per campaign!
  • 85% of Campaigns participated in National Programs including Back-to-School, Fair Trade Month, Valentines Day and World Fair Trade Day.

For Catholic colleges and universities, fair trade presents an opportunity to respond to the urgent call to promote social justice, the dignity of work, and the wider sharing of resources and development. The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities has created Fair Trade and Catholic Higher Education, highlighting how ACCU member institutions engage with the fair trade movement.

See more Fair Trade Firsts in the Campaigns Academic Year in Review!