SXU students opt for community service in lieu of traditional spring break
Students upholding Mercy tradition of service
Chicago (March 12, 2007) – Instead of relaxing in Cancun or Daytona Beach, 25 SXU students boarded vans this weekend en route to Cincinnati, New Orleans and Kentucky, where they will spend spring break renovating and repairing homes, tutoring youths, packaging food, and working at homeless and women’s shelters. Students will also perform community service in the Chicago area.
At a meeting prior to their trips, Saint Xavier campus ministry director Eileen Doherty read the students a quote from famed nun and art historian Wendy Beckett: “You are not a saint because you keep the rules and are blameless; you are a saint if you live in the real world, going out and loving real people whom God has put into your life.”
Doherty told the group of Saint Xavier students who had gathered in the Warde Academic Center to prepare for their unique spring break: “You are all going to meet some real people in the real world. And the best that you can do is share your love with them.”
Students participating in the program knew that long drives and sometimes hard working and living conditions were ahead of them, but as SXU student James Woods, of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, said, “It’s an opportunity to do something good, and I’ve never been to New Orleans before.”
To prepare for their trips, students participated in a rigorous series of exercises and role playing designed to forge trust and people skills. They learned how to work together, overcome conflict and keep each other on task.
When asked why she chose to spend her spring break doing service, SXU student Mallory Madison said, “I want to be a social worker, and I wanted to help people in the area where I live.” The South Holland resident will be volunteering at the Darst Center in Chicago.
“Service to the community is what led the Sisters of Mercy to found this school,” Doherty said. “One hundred and sixty years later, we continue this tradition of service to others. It is what makes a great school like Saint Xavier unique.”
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Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News & World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.
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