Student Government leaders from Benedictine College, University of Mary, and University of Dallas joined Ave Maria University for a conference in January and we couldn't be happier with the outcome.
Not only did we build friendships, but we also exchanged ideas that will lead toward the improvement of our institutions and, hopefully, higher Catholic education.
Here are some of the things we learned in our discussion with Dr. Seana Sugrue, Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Ave Maria University. Our discussion focused on three questions, and here we've included the questions and many of our notes.
What challenges do we face as Catholic leaders, as students and beyond, and how can we help to solve them?
We need inspiration rooted in faith. Our inspiration often comes from others, who support and encourage us. Most importantly, it comes from God, and through the sacraments, spiritual direction, coming to terms with our imperfection and dependence, and getting back to the basic realization that Christ is with us, we are able to stay inspired.
We need to be reflective on truth and knowledge. We need to have a connection with the deepest truths of the faith and truth in general - this is a university, after all. Reality is much larger than us. However, looking at different areas of knowledge (such as our majors and programs), we can get a glimpse of the unity of truth.
We need to be faithful and serve others. As Christians, we are called to bring the light of our faith into our vocations, with a humble spirit and joyful attitude.
How can we help our respective schools stay true to our Catholic identity?
When we are excellent versions of ourselves, we can help others be the best versions of themselves. We can use our gifts to serve our schools, even after graduation. As government leaders, we should be open and practical, test each other's ideas, and maintain a spirit of awe for truth.
How can we promote academic research and ideas on campus?
Discovery Day. Benedictine College brought a unique idea to the table. At BC, Student Government helps facilitate "Discovery Day," where students are encouraged to share about their most fascinating discovery from the year.
Books. At the University of Dallas, the Student Government Executive Board reads different books throughout the year to instigate discussion. We think this is an interesting idea worth exploring.
While the notes on this page give a good overview, unfortunately we can't encapsulate our entire discussion on the web. There's still much more to be said, and as The Network develops, we are optimistic about the future development of these ideas.