From the Director's Desk
The start of the academic year is always filled with excitement as we welcome new students and initiate new programs, and this past fall was no exception. The Center for Faith and Public Life (CFPL) buzzed with activity as we engaged 270 students in 20 service-learning courses and U.S. News and World Report recognized our program as one of the best in the country. The JUHAN minor, in its second semester, continues to flourish with 20 students enrolled, surpassing our initial goal. Through our global service learning scholarships, we enabled 10 students to participate in academic immersion experiences in South Dakota, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Tanzania, and we continued our efforts to support undocumented students by hosting trainings for faculty and staff and distributing scholarships to assist students with costs related to books, healthcare, tuition and educational programs.
While the fall semester was filled with great experiences and new successes, it was also marked by the deeply divisive discourse we encountered throughout the presidential election cycle. The election highlighted and unearthed deep fissures within our society across issues that concern all of us. The CFPL is entering this new year with energy and excitement as well as a renewed commitment to narrowing these fissures through direct engagement. We will continue to deliver transformative educational opportunities, inspired by the Jesuit mission of service and social justice that prepare our students to become ethical agents of change in an increasingly diverse and complex world.
So, what can you expect from the CFPL in this new year? This semester, we are excited to launch a few new initiatives that build on the strength of existing work we are doing through service learning and JUHAN. One new initiative is “Strategic Partnerships for Social Change,” through which we will build sustainable models for campus-community partnerships through service-learning and the convening of stakeholders around social issues such as food justice, educational equity and supporting immigrant and refugee youth. We will continue to work with partners across campus and beyond to extend our commitment to supporting undocumented students, in line with the joint statement signed by Jesuit College and University Presidents from across the U.S. We will also continue to pilot, and build on, the JUHAN regional hub with College of the Holy Cross, University of Scranton, LeMoyne College and Boston College, and we are excited to participate in the 2017 JUHAN student leadership conference, Principles in Crisis: Refugees and Responsibility, at the College of the Holy Cross in June.
On behalf of the CFPL, thank you for your ongoing support of our work and we extend an open and ongoing invitation to anyone who wishes to engage with us directly. We hope to see you soon!
Director, Center for Faith & Public Life