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Brent Smith

May 14, 2014

“For everything there is a season, and a time for everything under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

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Brent took part with his fellow graduates in the tradition of Candle and Rose the evening before Commencement.

The end of another season has arrived at Dominican.  For my fellow graduates of Rosary College, the past few weeks are categorized by closures and openings, by low points and high points, by loss and renewal. 

For some DU Students, the completion of an undergraduate education does not necessarily include a “letting go” of community.  For others, saying “goodbye” to the Dominican community is an emotional task. 

I suppose the most difficult part is finding solace (a coming-to-terms) with the reality of moving on.  The many celebrations that seniors participated in helped to make saying goodbye much easier.  The Senior Celebration of Academic Excellence, the Ministry and Service Celebration, and Baccalaureate Mass each gave my peers and me chances to affirm the value of our academic careers at DU. 

Now as a recent graduate of this institution, I am truly proud to be a Dominican Star.  But why do I feel this way?  It must be because I know I am always welcome at this second home. 

Take the library as an example.  While I have spent several hours and learning course materials and perfecting papers, many other events have taken place within the walls of Rebecca Crown Library. 

In many ways it has acted as a family room where guests are warmly invited to be their true selves, a place of preparation and celebration.  In this space Buddhist monks have constructed a sand mandala while also performing cultural music.  The Interfaith Cooperation Committee has used it as a temporary space for a walking-labyrinth.  On any given weekend, wedding groups take photos on the spiral staircase.  How awesome it is that families begin in this library!  On the Friday before Commencement, in this same library I have enjoyed champagne and berries with the university president and my fellow soon-to-graduates. 

The Alumnae/i Department is another example of home-away-from-home.  If I am in the area, and with some time to spare, I know I am welcome there.  My supervisor, Joanne Eberwein, is just one of the staff members who I am glad to catch up with. 

One has chosen a fine institution when the Alumnae/i Relations staff wants to build relationships with students before they graduate. 

This coming June, for one last time I am looking forward to working the Alumnae/i Reunion Weekend.  When my 10th or 15th commencement anniversary rolls around, I will definitely attend one myself.    

March 28, 2014
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Students have enjoyed retreats to the Sinsinawa Mound for decades.

Come with me to the rolling hills of Sinsinawa, a place where the young-at-heart stay so forever and the young grow in wisdom beyond their years.  Welcome to the home of the young eagle, where Samuel Mazzuchelli began a tradition of preparing women to pursue truth and give compassionate service.

Four years ago Dominican University was just a four-year institution of higher education.  I knew this place was home to a community of men and women looking to continue the labors of education.  Four years ago I had a somewhat different understanding of the value and implications of attending a Catholic institution.  

The Dominican Order was foreign to me, simply a religious order comprised of professed men and women in black and white garb.  Four years ago, I had known a few professed sisters as passing acquaintances.  Stories of sisters disciplining naughty school children were equally familiar to me as stories of sisters ministering to the poor in the inner city.  

Fast-forward to the present day, I have great respect for the men and women who hold master’s degrees and doctorates in areas from Latino/a literature and Hebrew scripture to political law and philosophy.  Before Dominican, I attended high school at a public institution.  The transition to college surprisingly did not mean changing school colors or graduating class size.  

Coming to Dominican meant broadening my understanding of mission and culture.  The mission statement of my high school is “to promote and provide growth experiences in learning, leadership and living.”  Dominican touts a mission statement that gets more so at the heart of living life in all its fullness.  This mission statement informs the institution’s culture, one that supports opportunities for greater independence in the life of a college student.  See for yourself.

As for the professed sisters, I have learned that they are enlivened by passion.  Each of these women chose to follow paths of profound joy and meaning.  The first step of each one was to leave behind marriage and children.  The next immediate step was to open themselves up to a spiritual family comprised of men and women of all ages.  Some chose to teach in elementary schools and others chose to become professors of higher education.  Many of them chose to do service abroad in South America or the Caribbean, to work at missionaries that provide health care, education, and counseling services.  

These women all share a beautiful motherhouse called the Mound, located in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.  Back during the first week of March, a group of my peers and I attended a three-day retreat there.  While some of us ministered to horses, we all shared our stories with the professed sisters who live at the Mound.  University Ministry recently published a post on its blog by fellow senior Molly McGrail, who wrote about some of her experiences on the retreat.

Spending time as a senior at the Sinsinawa Dominican Mound is a mountaintop experience.  The Mound is another home to me.  As a member of the Sinsinawa Dominican family, I know that I am always welcome.  The motherhouse is open for any visitor, not just those on retreats.  Once you sink your roots into the Sinsinawa Dominican way, you will never be the same.               

 

February 20, 2014

ACAAX ConferenceThe life of a student could always use some fresh air. Students are immersed in the real-world experiences of assignment deadlines, employment and the joys and struggles of family life. These experiences can overwhelm any person's view of the bigger picture; the air can become a little stale from the same routine and responsibilities.

Working up the courage to ask for a day off from work, for parents to get someone else to babysit the younger sibling, or taking time away from that big research project are all opportunities to allow some fresh air to enter a student’s life.

Why attempt to get away from the daily routine, on the weekend during an academic semester? What else than to travel—to Chicago! This 10-mile trek away from the Dominican campus must be for a good cause.

The higher education world is all about scholastic gatherings—yes—beloved conferences. I come away from conferences with bundles of knowledge and even fun memories. These gatherings are chances for me to compare my perspective as a Dominican student to fellow students, faculty, and staff of other institutions.

Here at Dominican I have attended seven conferences: three among them are Dominican Preaching in Action (’11), Dominican Higher Education Colloquium (’12), and ImpAct (’14). At Loyola U. Chicago in Rogers Park, I attended the Interfaith Leadership Institute (’13), and at Roosevelt U. in downtown Chicago, I attended the ACAA Leadership Exchange (’13).

Earlier this month of February, at DePaul University I attended another ACAA Leadership Exchange. ACAA is an acronym for Association of Campus Activities Administrators (Can you say Ahcaw?). At this six-hour conference, I met with students from other Chicago area higher education institutions like North Park U., Columbia College Chicago, Devry U., and Concordia U. Chicago. The breakfast amenities blew me away – bacon-topped donuts! The Opening Session was amusing too, because my peers and I got to know one another by participating in improv skits.

On this leadership exchange I learned about strategies to maintain membership in student organizations, with the GRAPE principle (growth, recognition, achievement, participation and enjoyment) in mind. I also spent some time with a small group of students in conversation about the representation of masculinity in U.S. culture and its implications on college campuses. Finally, my peers and I reflected on the topic of spiritual leadership.

During the presentations and session breaks, students from other institutions told me about the success stories and difficulties of executing student events at their respective campuses. I am most grateful to have had the chance to talk about my own experience as a leader in campus ministry, and then compare those experiences with students in sociology clubs, student government associations, and campus activity boards.

During that weekend, for the first time I stepped foot onto the Red Line train system. As someone who grew up in the western suburbs, I had no idea Chicago had a subway. Dominican is truly a doorway to a new experiences.

January 10, 2014

Father Samuel Mazzuchelli

With trumpets blaring (figuratively), the 2014 spring semester has commenced.  After a few days of classes, I am pumped to have returned to campus for the sole reason of growing closer to my Dominican family.  Life is filled with so many darn amazing possibilities, to expand one’s many horizons and fill the heart with ever-more joy. Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli is a legend of Dominican success.  His sufferings and joys were the beginning steps toward bringing countless opportunities to River Forest.   

As the ship neared the Boston harbor, Fr. Mazzuchelli was relieved to have survived the intrepid journey across the Atlantic from his beloved homeland of Italy.

As a man of innovation and integrity, Fr. Mazzuchelli fulfilled numerous roles during his lifetime of 57 years.  He believed in education for all and had the courage to speak the truth.  Here at Dominican we look to his courage, and that of others, as we proclaim our motto Caritas et Veritas.

Fr. Mazzuchelli may have traveled to new territory in North America with the mindset of a priest, but he became known for other equally important roles. He designed and assisted in the building of numerous churches. He worked with the locals to cultivate the land. Countless nights he spent behind his telescope, partaking in the beauty of astronomy. The founding of Santa Clara Academy in Wisconsin – which would one day become Rosary College and later Dominican University now located in Illinois – took a great deal of administrative work on his part. Fr. Mazzuchelli involved himself a variety of activities. The students of Dominican are to follow in his footsteps. Besides coursework, students have so many opportunities to distinguish themselves as Stars. Are you called to spend time volunteering with our homeless outreach opportunities, while also participating in Eco Club? Will you tend to the student-gardens on campus, while writing for the Dominican Star student newspaper?

The indigenous people of the upper Midwest along with the daughters of frontier families made up the majority of students at Santa Clara Academy. By going against the norm of educating European males he was among the pioneers in this area. He set up a curriculum of reading, writing, science, and even the arts. Fr. Mazzuchelli is well known for the indigenous prayer books he translated, showing a particular interest in knowing the local cultures. The heart of the Dominican experience is in the classroom, where the academic efforts of all students are to be praised. Do you have the humility and experience to work for the Academic Enrichment Center as a tutor? Do you have an interest in pairing up with a student in the English Language Services program, with the goal of helping a student to improve his/her reading, writing, and above all, speaking?

Fr. Mazzuchelli was horrified by the genocide of Native Americans, as a so-called necessary evil in the work of territorial expansion. He wrote to Wisconsin territorial delegate George Wallace Jones, stating that the European whites acted unjustly by betraying treaties made with the natives. He pointedly condemned the government’s underhanded dealings done for the sake of the wealthy few. Fr. Mazzuchelli once preached that the discontentment and unrest of all American people was due to the sins of the entire nation. College is the time for students to become active citizens, which means a willingness to learn about the politics that affect our nation so heavily. Will you write to your state representative, to state your opinion on matters such as undocumented students, the MAP grant, or health care reform? Do you have an interest in joining the Student Government Association?

Dominican Stars are each called, just as Fr. Mazzuchelli, to serve his or her community in a variety of ways, to recognize and affirm the academic efforts and success of all people, and to diligently speak one’s mind about important matters that affect the entire nation. I will conclude this reflection with a quote from Fr. Mazzuchelli, “Let us wake up then… and set out for any place where the work is great and difficult.” 

November 5, 2013

Dominican University students at apple orchardEach autumn at Dominican, I am overcome by the colorful leaves, via determined vines, that cover much of the parking garage.  As the halfway point of the semester has passed, my adventure at this university of amazing possibilities continues.  I recently lost a well-loved member of my family, a man to whom I am indebted for the countless sacrifices he has made for me.  The religious sisters, faculty, staff and fellow students have shown me their love and support during this difficult time in my life.  Each day would not be the same without this Dominican community.  Reflecting on the past couple months, I will try to express how connections and blessings endure as a member of this community.

As the van pulled into the gravel parking area one mid-September weekend morning, I finished the paragraph I was reading about Fiesta as a metaphor for Latino/a religious experience (the name of a course I am taking).  After having an employee brief us, we set out toward the moment of shear anticipation.  I could hardly believe my eyes—rows upon rows of apple trees!  Apples on Oak is the first apple orchard I have visited as a young adult, if ever at all.  I loved the experience of test-tasting fallen apples and spending time with friends in the fresh open air.

As a semi-member of Nutrition Club, during a late September weekend morning, I joined my peers for brunch at the small Buzz Café in Oak Park.  This Chicagoland area is rich with hip, health-conscious shops and restaurants.  Following our time at the café, we took a short drive over to the Oak Park Farmers Market.  After browsing the entire market, my eyes finally caught sight of an onsite donut shop.  I enjoyed choosing buttery-fried goodness over leafy-green goodness.  As I waited for my peers to finish buying fresh produce and baked goods, I read a book about Catholic-Muslim cooperation for my senior theology paper (for the course Senior Integrating Seminar).

During the first week in November, the university community celebrates the heritage of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, a man close to my heart and that of the Sinsinawa sisters.  Our institutional founder, Fr. Sam grew up in northern Italy, a land of poetic opera ballads and authentic pizza.  Since his birthday is on November 4th, God rest his soul, we must pay respects as the spiritual descendants of Fr. Sam’s love for the Dominican way.  This year is the 150th anniversary of his passing from this life and into the mystery of God.

Dominican is a place where every member of the community is celebrated.  The Memorial Mass took place this past Sunday, in conjunction with All Souls and All Saints Days, when the recently and long deceased friends of Dominican University are honored.

September 23, 2013

WelcomeDominican’s campus holds a special place in my heart.  Living on campus as a resident only strengthens my love of these century-old grounds.  Since I am now starting my final year at DU, I really hope to savor what this campus has to offer, like the over-abundance of watermelon available in the Dining Hall.

DU Fest, as I have mentioned before, is a very Dominican-way to kick-off the fall semester.  Hundreds of community-members flocked to the Quad to enjoy the beautiful weather.  DU Fest seems to improve with age; in least it has a unique feel each year.  The experience is all the more memorable and intense by representing a student organization.  With University Ministry, my peers and I gave out corn-on-the-cob.  My fellow minister-leader Terry received an epiphany from a higher power, namely that corn-on-the-cob is a modern-day symbol of Jesus…

Friends like Terry remind of why I go to Dominican University.  The compassion and joy shared among friends is the key ingredient in experiencing memories that are sure to last.  These positive relationships are easily found, if you are open to the possibilities.  After a year away from the Alumnae/i Offices, I look forward to continuing my on-campus job in the Annual Giving “phonathon” office.  The supervisor and co-workers actually celebrate the nature of this important work.  We have the best pick-up lines…

This fall, I'm feeling victorious after obtaining a new internship for the fall semester.  Following the recent death of beloved bioethicist Fr. Kevin O’Roarke, OP, Dominican and the Neiswanger Bioethics Institute have collaborated to offer an online-communication internship.  At the bioethics institute in Maywood, my responsibilities include managing the institute’s social media efforts.  A major part of this work will happen through building relationships with the faculty and staff.  Through subsequent interviews, I will know what direction to take my work.

College is such an important time in life.  The future anxiety of being a full-fledged adult hangs over the heads of most students.  Not long into their higher education experience, students learn why taking the time for coursework pays off.  With much hope and determination, academics can flow into an internship, which can then flow into full-time work.  Four years is a fair amount of time to prepare for the rest of life.  Few things are better than feeling prepared.   

July 22, 2013

As a follower of Christ, I believe His Light is guiding me in a powerful way, one that can free my path of darkness.  The worth and priority placed on the Savior, Jesus Christ, is a non-negotiable of Christianity.  My fellow Christians and I are called to evangelize and defend the Faith.  As a devout Catholic, I had originally viewed non-Christian religions as misinformed and inferior.  My perspective changed after coming to Dominican. 

I have learned that the process of scholarship and learning is an ongoing dialogue that includes agreements and disagreements alike.  While I will hold onto the non-negotiables of Christianity, I seek to know the non-negotiables of other religions.  If every religious tradition has a variation of the Golden Rule, then each tradition must have value that is worth sharing with others.  I like the metaphor of converging interreligious values as "many paths up the mountain."

Dominican University Interfaith EventStudents from more than 40 colleges participated in interfaith dialogue at the ILI event.

We live in a world rich with religious and spiritual diversity.  Many college students categorize themselves as spiritual and/or agnostic.  Others align themselves with Atheism.  Many of these men and women are on nonreligious journeys toward ever-greater meaning in their lives.  A different category of students have an engaging sense of religion, many who are of non-Christian faiths.

The Interfaith Youth Core, also known as IFYC, works toward bringing together all people with the hope for dialogue and participation in service. The organization strives to lift up the value of religious diversity for everyone to recognize, whether or not a person is devout and practicing a specific faith.  A college campus is the premier environment for interfaith cooperation.

Dominican is among a small group of institutions in the Chicago area that are leading the interfaith movement in Illinois.  When the latest Interfaith Leadership Institute(ILI) became official, Jeff Carlson, dean of DU's Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, wasted little time before sending out a campus-wide invitation.  The ILI is a conference coordinated by the IFYC and is hosted by colleges committed to interfaith cooperation.  Dominican hosted an ILI in June, 2011.

At Loyola University Chicago, three other Dominican students and I attended an ILI during a late June weekend.  My peers and I were among students from more than 40 colleges.  We experienced three days of interfaith cooperation testimonials, networking opportunities and campus event-planning.  A variety of religious and nonreligious traditions were represented at the ILI, from the modern pagan faith Wicca to the Bahai faith,to Universal Unitarians. Catholicism and Agnosticism also were both well represented.

Dominican University Interfaith StudentsDominican University student interfaith leaders took part in the ILI conference.

 

During the ILI, specific religious groups would momentarily leave the conference for communal and individual worship. Students who wished to fulfill worship obligations knew they would forego scheduled activities.  Those who had the courage and dedication to do so were an inspiration.  I was thankful the Madonna della Strada chapel on Loyola's campus was a short walk from the main conference center.

The ILI alumnae/i panel stands out as a memorable part of the conference.  IFYC founder Eboo Patel facilitated questions directed toward the three panelists who reflected on how they are called to interfaith leadership after college.  The panelists represented perspectives from United Methodist Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.  IFYC stresses that when someone talks about how traditions impact a person's circumstances, that person is speaking from an individualperspective rather than a generalized perspective.  The ILI alums spoke of their experiences as leaders within their faith congregations, local communities and workplaces.  They encouraged my peers and I to recognize the continuous, relevant work of interfaith leadership.

Come this September, the student movement, together with the Interfaith Cooperation Committee, will make plenty of noise on campus.  My fellow leaders and I are on our way toward engaging students, faculty and staff alike in the work of interfaith awareness and cooperation.  In a world where the establishment of mosques are disputed and where Sikh temples are mistaken for other centers of worship with dire consequences, interfaith leadership will continue to be relevant.

May 28, 2013

A one-lane road, cutting through a valley.  Eleven Dominican souls, on their way to the Farm. Nazareth FarmEnter the Appalachian (App-ah-latch-in) countryside,  a marvel of eastern America.  The mountains border one's view of the sky, trimmed with countless trees.  Nazareth Farm (a non-profit organization established in 1979) is nestled against the foot of a slope, with a creek placed parallel with the road.  As fellow volunteers and I opened the doors of our big white van, the Naz staff and a welcoming dog celebrated our arrival at the farm with many hugs.  A group of students from the University of Dayton, OH, had beaten us there not long beforehand.  Four students from Loyola University would arrive the following evening.  The next five days would instill in my fellow volunteers and me a lasting sense of community, service, prayer and simplicity.

Student volunteers are directly involved in the construction process.  If we felt capable to do a certain aspect of work then we were trusted to do so.  The weather for the most part cooperated beautifully, with rain starting right around when time at the worksites ended.  During the first worksite day, my fellow volunteers and I had to get off a roof due to momentary bad weather.  I have never experienced such peace as the rain came down around my fellow volunteers and me.  Working together on home repair gave us chances to affirm our relationships, whether new or old.  We took turn measuring foam board insulation, holding ladders and positioning wood boards while another person nailed them into place.  We not only served homeowners but one another.

Throughout the week, my peers and I explored various prayer experiences.  My workgroup, the Hairless Hounds, prepared and led a time of reflection focused on celebrating the Earth.  Later that same day, we learned and prayed about how the Earth is abused through land-stripping (a form of mining efforts) and natural gas extraction.  The staff at Naz Farm take an informed approach to strengthening one's prayer life.  Through group discussions we came to a deepened understanding of the importance of living with less, of living with the goal of ever-more simplicity.

I had no idea our meals would be so good.  Nearly everything was prepared on the Farm from scratch.  Gluten-free options were available at most meals (Although I did not have a food allergy to watch out for, I gladly tried other options).  Kneading bread dough is a pretty good workout too. Dominican Students at Naz FarmDid I mention that this trip was the summer Alternative Break Immersion (ABI), offered through University Ministry?  Matt Palkert, the university minister who coordinated the trip with recent graduate Alyse Stolz, has found a new calling in Minnesota.  He affirmed his love for Dominican by going on one last ABI trip, but he must now say "goodbye for now & until we meet again" to Dominican.  Matt has made an immense impact on Dominican's social justice culture and also the interfaith cooperation movement.  Dominican is saying "goodbye for now" to two other ministry leaders, director Shannon Green and vice president of Mission & Ministry Sr. Diane Kennedy, OP.  These dedicated members of Dominican's community are called now to new ministries.  They will forever stay a part of this family.  I am both anxious and excited to see the transformations that will take place over the next few months as University Ministry celebrates the arrival of new members of the Dominican family.

April 18, 2013

Hey readers!  My junior year continues to surprise me with novel opportunities to experience cultures foreign to my own.  Did you know there are refugee families living in the western suburbs of Chicago?  Are you aware of the controversy over mosque-communities in both towns and cities throughout the U.S.?  Continue reading to find out-

Brent and other DU students pose with a Burmese family.Brent and other DU students pose with a Burmese family.

 

Exodus World Services is an inspirational organization that reaches out to families in foreign countries that are experiencing discrimination and even persecution because of their religion, ethnicity, and marginalized position in society.  With the help of Exodus, each week families make their way from refugee camps and slums to airports where they are then flown to the United States.  They are provided housing normally in areas where people of their same country of origin are located.

For the same course mentioned in my last post, in which I have spent time with ELS students, my peers and I recently participated in a Welcome to America! Pack program event.  Over the course of this spring semester we collected household supplies to provide for a family of eight from Burma (Also known as Myanmar, but this term has a negative connotation for refugees).  On the day we visited the family’s apartment in Wheaton, IL, to drop off the supplies, they had arrived earlier that same day.  Even after their long flight from Burma they still had the energy and courage to spend time with us.  We helped them put away kitchen items, prepare bedrooms, and even showed them how to dispense plastic wrap from its container (The hardest part is finding which end to open).  The family knew only broken English, but with the help of the Exodus contact person we were able to hold a conversation about why they chose to leave Burma and what their hopes are as Burmese-Americans.  Since I come from the suburb of Carol Stream, during this coming summer I hope to participate in the New Neighbor Program, when I would meet with the family once a week for three months.

Time to change paths, but follow the same general direction-

Brent with Jamil KhouryBrent with Jamil Khoury

 

Jamil Khoury, artistic director and cofounder of the theatre production company Silk Road Rising, is a bold playwright with the tools to break into the public discourse of Islamophobia affecting American Culture.  Through Silk Road Rising he is directing the Mosque Alert project.  Khoury recently came to campus to give a presentation about his work thus far on the project.  He spoke about his inspiration for the production and process involved in its creation.  He then showed a video called Meet Mosque Alert, which presents the characters and introduces the various conflicts that occur between two families: a young Muslim couple and a Caucasian Christian family of four.  A second video titled The Imam and the Homosexual was shown, which highlights the normally unspoken comparisons and contrasts between Muslim and LGBTQ discrimination.  As a Catholic institution working toward ‘the creation of a more just and humane world,’ students should expect to engage in dialogue over liberties and prejudices concerning both religion and sexual orientation.

Illinois is metaphorically ablaze with controversy over the provision of citizenship to refugees and undocumented immigrants alike. During this same period, society is in a state of unrest over non-Christian faiths and gender norms.  Dominican is an active community in search of the Truth, for the sake of love and justice, in the same sort of manner as of St. Dominic de Guzman during his own time.

April 1, 2013

ELS Group ShotDominican University is an intercultural goldmine.  As a communication student I have had two opportunities to get to know foreign students in English Language Services (ELS), based on the Priory Campus.  Students who enroll in ELS spend from a few months to a couple years at Dominican to learn the ever-prevalent English language.  Some students decide to stay in the U.S. to earn a bachelors or masters degree.  They visit from South Korea, Taiwan, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Argentina, among other countries.

The first opportunity I had for intercultural conversation was with Mjeed, a male student from Saudi Arabia, during the spring of my sophomore year.  We met on two occasions for an interview about the Saudi Arabian culture.  While I learned about Mjeed's culture from back home, he was able to practice the English he was focusing so much of his time on learning.  I was surprised to learn that people in Saudi Arabia who are caught littering on the street are fined.  Religious practices of the Islamic faith and other daily activities are intermingled.  During a school day students have faith-recesses (a phrase I created) when they go for brief prayer services at a local mosque.  Women in Saudi Arabia at home are not expected to wear a hijab or veil.  The work place is slowly adjusting to a enlarging pool of female professionals.

This current spring semester I am participating in a second opportunity to spend time with ELS students.  A fellow Dominican undergrad student and I have met with a group of four Saudi Arabian male students.  We have gone to the local coffee shop, bowling alley, and Italian cafe.  The focus of this time together is to dialogue about social justice topics- homelessness, global poverty, sexual orientation issues, discrimination, labor practices etc.  My peers and I have enjoyed every moment spent with them.    We share more similarities than differences.

February 15, 2013

I am pleasantly exasperated by the many speakers who have graced the campus.  Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the anniversary of Vatican II have brought a commended group of thought-provoking men and women.  During the past month Tim Wise and Jane Elliot (See Abel’s blog) separately came to campus to encourage reflections on societally approved white privilege and innate bigotry.  Students and staff alike were called to open their eyes to the possibility of change, for greater community driven by compassion.  Dominican is providing the tools to ‘participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.’  I am looking forward to the panel presentation “Three Generations Discuss 50 Years of Vatican II,” when social justice and liturgy, among other topics in relation to the momentous council will be dissected.

Numerous documentary-viewings have also graced campus.  Among them was Miss Representation, which analyzes how American media is sending mixed signals to females of all ages.  The documentary closes with a message of empowerment and a push for mentorship.  Band of Sisters told the story of the transforming landscape of Catholic women religious in America.  The film highlights the various ministries and outreach sisters and former-sisters alike are living daily, in light of Vatican II and other global movements.

A whole different set of tools provided to students can be found in a department situated in the lower level of Coughlin Hall.  I am of course referring to the boisterous Office of Student Involvement (OSI).  Michael Lango is the director of OSI (spoken as Oh-sigh), an enthusiastic and inspiring gentleman every student should meet.  Lango has brought with him a handy-dandy connection with the Association of Campus Activities Administers (ACAA).  The ACAA (Spoken as Ah-Cah!) coordinates an annual leadership exchange among colleges and universities in the Chicago-area.  This year’s exchange, with a focus on arts and activism, just happened recently at Roosevelt University. My fellow peers and I attended three sessions about topics such as athletics-inspired leadership, emotional intelligence, and social identities.  I enjoyed meeting and connecting with a number of student leaders, among a group of around 100 attendees, from other universities.

January 29, 2013

Over the past few weeks I have lovingly daydreamed about the crowded streets of Rome.  Not long after Christmas 21 of my Dominican peers and I together were whisked off on an overseas flight to Europe, led by fine arts professors Jeffery Cote de Luna and Jean Bevier.  We came prepared with a mindset toward the Baroque and Renaissance art of the 15th through 18thcenturies.

Four RiversBrent sits at the Four Rivers fountain in Rome

 

The Eternal City is an overwhelming place.  When we first arrived I was overtaken by the foreign, hurried pace.  Not long into the trip I became filled with curiosity and a sense of adventure.  We made full use of daylight as we walked throughout the city.  Some highlights from the short study abroad trip include the local culture, the Farnese Palace, and the Jesuit church Il Gesu.

I would love to step into the shoes of a modern day Roman.  These Italians are surrounded by immense, ancient structures.  One way toward the Coliseum is paralleled by awe-inspiring ruins.  The city is pocked with piazzas or squares, each containing one or more ornate fountains.  Many of these squares are home to markets and vendors where fresh produce and various wares are sold.  Along side roads and squares alike my peers and I enjoyed light lunches along with plenty of cappuccino and gelato.

We visited numerous galleries and museums located throughout the city, from the Capitoline Museum to the Borgese Gallery.  I particularly enjoyed the Farnese Palace, now the French Embassy.  I will remember our time there initially because three-four months in advance we had to request entry.  Looking up at the walls surrounding the courtyard one can see the architectural design of three consecutive artists.  Inside the palace holds a grand sculpture of Hercules, tapestries, and a ceiling fresco of love mythology, among other art pieces.

TowardSaint Peters Bascilica

 

Roman churches are like US grocery stores.  Both the façade and interior of many are worth admiring.  Each Catholic worship space we visited contained a nativity scene.  Even though St. Peter’s Basilica is a vast structure, its nativity scene was placed in the square outside.  The Jesuit church Il Gesu is worth emphasizing.  The ceiling fresco is an artistic marvel, extending beyond its set borders to further engage the space.  Angels and saints stand among the clouds as demons and lost souls spill away from the main section of fresco. I second my fellow student blogger Caitlin Guerra’s words about the impact of studying abroad.  Traveling with the mission of academic veritas makes for lasting memories.

December 10, 2012
Recipe Box CafeRecipe Box Cafe

 

To begin this jolly post, I would like provide some important DU trivia: The I-Share library loan system is a priceless tool for academic work. As a Dominican student, my peers and I have access to books from at least 80 institutions of higher education. This semester alone I have checked-out more than 30 books through this library cooperative. E-books and graphic novels are available through I-Share too. I save so much money while I impress my professors with essay hypotheses supported by oodles of research. I am sick of academia so let us now turn to the rest of this blog-broadcast.

The Dominican community values its nutrition students. They will become the future celebrity dietitians, community nutritionists, or elite chefs at top-rated restaurants (if they attend culinary schools as well of course). The Recipe Box Atrium Café, a weekly program sponsored by the Nutrition department is an opportunity for students to showcase their dietetic skills. Students, faculty, and other community members are welcome to attend. During the month of November, students Sara Scheler and Gabby Sherer planned a dinner together. The food was quite delectable and fancy- well-seasoned fish and a refreshing dessert. At ten dollars for a proportionate three-course meal and an opportunity for conversation, the experience was worthwhile. Dining Services (Chartwells) has some pretty good fare, but I was pleased to enjoy this wonderful student-planned meal.

I am perplexed by this late fall weather, a mix of both biting cold and oddly comfortable temps. A holiday show was much needed to spice up the season. A Leahy Family Christmas, comprised of eight siblings from Canada, was a momentous start to Advent. Performing at the DUPAC, the Leahy siblings along with a number of their children, sang danced (Ottawa Valley Step-dancing) and played instruments. E ven a six or seven year-old in the group could step-it-out on stage. Three of the brothers played their fiddles with total abandon while the fourth one kept the show grounded with his masterful percussion-abilities. The four sisters played piano and various guitars. Together they sang an original Christmas hymn about the newborn Christ as King. I am especially awakened to the Christmas spirit with the help of this cheerful and captivating show. My mother and brother were certainly pleased with the evening.

Leahy Family ChristmasLeahy Family Christmas

 

November 19, 2012

Here at Dominican University relationships matter.  Faculty and staff members do far more than what is expected of them.  Many of my professors burst with enthusiasm and wisdom of their academic fields.  Jeffrey Carlson, dean of the undergraduate Rosary College and professor of theology, always tells incoming freshmen and transfer students that college is a full-time job.  The workload of a student is never easy.  A community alive with the Love of Truth (Caritas et Veritas) can make all the difference.

Dominican University’s mission statement holds profound meaning that ripples throughout campus.  As the student body grows, coupled with the welcoming of new faculty and staff members, the mission needs to stay an integral part of life at this institution.  Sr. Mary Ann Mueninghoff is our look-to staff member to help facilitate this never-ending discussion.  She plays an invaluable role in the orientation of new students.  At the heart of our pursuit of a more just and humane world is celebration the university’s past leaders.  We will never forget Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P..  He not only founded the Sinsinawa Dominicansbut also founded this institution!  Each year we celebrate his life on Founder’s Day, a time of great joy, conversation and Italian Food.

This semester I have finally found a specific career path to take in the field of corporate communications.  The course Fundamentals of Public Relations has opened my eyes to a world of copywriting, social media management, and promotion event planning, to name a few aspects.  Professor Jeff Finn has made all the difference.  He willingly works closely with his students to challenge them to do their best work.  A large part of the course work consists of a PR research project.   Each student identifies a problem or opportunity he or she is invested and then gets to work doing research and developing a strategic communications plan.  Each week three hours never seems like a long enough meeting time.

SpringBellarmine Hall

 

During the spring semester of my freshman year I enrolled in a course taught by Economics Professor Peter Alonzi.  I have mentioned him in past posts.  He is on fire with the Dominican tradition.  Now in my junior year I still keep in touch with this inspiring man, who continues to take interest in my studies long after I decided on a major other than economics.  Prof. Alonzi recommended I go on a retreat at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.  I am sure glad to have decided to take him up on the invitation!

The early November weekend was filled with silence.  Outside of scheduled events (group prayer times, mass, reconciliation), none of the retreatants spoke to each other.  Not even during meals was there conversation.  I loved the intentional silence (Just over 24 hours, but believe me when I say it was much needed!).  I arrived back on campus with a renewed determination for my academic work and even more love for my Dominican community.

October 25, 2012

The trees surrounding campus are bursting with fall colors.  The entrance to Lewis Hall is draped in purple and red vines.  The ground is covered with large, newly fallen leaves.  The trees in the Mazzuchelli courtyard of Parmer Hall are glimmering at night with bright white lights.  The cool Midwest weather has yet to stay below 50 degrees.  Dominican’s campus and the surrounding area are abuzz with student activity!

As autumn arrives so does Monday Night Bowling at Circle Lanes.  Students take the Dominican shuttle to the Green Line stop, at the corner of Harlem and Lake, and then they walk five to ten minutes south to Circle Avenue in Forest Park.  Crowds of students arrive each first evening of the week to socialize, compete for the highest score, and some have fun bowling with bumpers.  Food trays provided for the event allow students to fill their late night appetites.

Scholarship is abuzz at Dominican.  In one of the Honors Language Arts and Science Junior Seminars, taught by Professor David Perry, students are working on their self-directed final projects.  After learning about Darwinian evolution and the history of eugenics, while also looking forward to the topic of disabilities in America, students are now called to choose a related topic of interest for further research.  I have chosen to research the work of Teilhard de Chardin, whose theories include the noosphere and the ultrahuman.  My overarching question is as follows: In what way – and how – does de Chardin believe human evolution is now in the realm of neurological and spiritual development?

Wednesday, October 18, was the second leadership workshop of the academic year called DU Lead.  The workshops are facilitated by Assistant Director of Student Involvement Katie Kramer, who is also the staff advisor for the Campus Activities Board and director of the freshman Emerging Leaders Retreat.  Each workshop participant receives a code for an online survey called Strengths Quest to find out his/her top five leadership strengths.  Achiever, Belief, Connectedness, Developer, Input, and Learner are some examples of strengths found through the survey.  At the workshops students discuss the benefits, stereotypes, and areas of growth related to their strengths. Discover Dominican

The Discover Dominican event is just under a month from now.  This three hour-long group event includes a student-led campus tour and an academic and activities fair, where both faculty and staff will be available to answer questions.  Both prospective freshmen and transfer students are welcome to attend.  I will likely be at the event to talk about university ministry, and possibly even the communications department since I am the student assistant for faculty.   Make sure to RSVP!  

October 1, 2012

Shannon GreeneThis week I sat down with Shannon Green, Director of University Ministry, to talk about various aspects of college ministry, as she begins her third year at Dominican.

Q: What do you love about the Dominican University community?

A: I love that it’s a community of learners- faculty, staff, students, and sisters. The community is open and accepting; people want to know who you are. Our students are diverse; they come from a variety of backgrounds and locations, some speak different languages at home, some are first generation college students, and some have different abilities and disabilities. The campus feels like a small town. I love how you see the same people every day- though it took me a while to love this (LAUGHS) because I came from a much larger institution- so much good comes with that...there is a sense of care.

Q: As the director of University Ministry, what does an average day look like?

A: I don't think there are any average days (LAUGHS). I can go from working in the Chapel, keeping the worship space in good order, to interacting with students. Sometimes I meet with students one-on-one or through planned appointments. I meet with Student Leadership And Ministry (SLAM) core areas, Alumnae/i Relations and Student Involvement quite a bit. Sometimes I have to do administration and management which can include working on a grant, balancing a budget, paying a bill. I am also work on programming for University Ministry. I often find it both exhilarating and challenging. It’s very dynamic, I get to move around the campus a lot- I am not stuck behind my desk or computer. Meaningful conversations and prayer-moments are real highlights for me.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of University Ministry?

A: We are a relationship centered university- my relationships here are incredibly enjoyable. We are all in it together for a common mission. Now that I have started my third year at Dominican, those relationships are really blossoming. I enjoy Liturgy, which is a new part of the job for me than in the past. I have a passion for it, but it can be a real challenge for me in good ways (LAUGHS). I enjoy community-building, helping people feel welcome and included. I train students to do outreach. I enjoy being there as people's lives unfold- that's the real privilege of being in ministry.

Q: Where did you receive your master’s degree? Why have you chosen this path?

A: I went to Loyola University in Chicago, Institute of Pastoral Studies. I received a Master’s of Divinity (a comprehensive degree for theology and ministry) there, which I completed in 2000. I took plenty of scripture courses; it’s a three-year, full-time degree. I have a second master’s degree from Loyola in Human Resources Management, while I was working there so I could improve my people-management skills. I chose this path to be fully prepared for the ministry. I have always been drawn to church communities, but I did not know what that would look like for me. I ultimately thought I would work in a parish- a place I find very enriching. I want others to experience that enrichment, healing, and support.

Q: What are you looking forward to this semester? Will you be participating in this year's Caritas et Veritas Symposium?

A: At the Symposium this year, for the first time, I will be presenting with undergrad student Jamie Visser on the culture of hospitality here at Dominican University. I am very excited about this presentation- Jamie is taking the time to focus particularly on that part of ministry this year. I will bring a great passion for hospitality. We look forward to the discussion. I am also excited for our student leadership. There is going to be a lot fruit this year from the work we've been doing from the last couple of years. I am especially excited to see ongoing student ownership of ministry- the Liturgy, the ministry center, just any program. I wish for everyone to feel welcome in the ministry center. Some of the new programs like After Hours and Friday Fiesta Open House will contribute to this sense of warmth and joy.

September 7, 2012

Every year, after Welcome Weekend, I am fired up for a new academic year. On Friday night, the day of freshmen move-in, Curtain Call and Residence Life put on a hilarious sketch performance called Something to Do.  Some of my favorite scenes were when a male student played an annoying girl at a slumber party, and when two students acted as a pair of British news show hosts who commented on the London Olympics, with a special appearance by the Queen.  Over the summer I was resolute to join the improve group Curtain Call: No Script Attached.

DU Fest Cotton CandyDU Fest Sunday afternoon ongoing rain kept everyone inside the Main Dining Hall, Social Hall, and lower Cloister Walk (which are all part of Mazzuchelli Hall).  Festival participants still were filled with excitement.  Corn-on-the-cob and snow cones were both a big hit.  As a leader with the SLAM ministry team I made cotton candy.  I had great fun twirling paper sticks to collect the cotton candy webbing, followed by a well-executed bagging of the sweet treat.  Other campus organizations and offices were in charge of more goodie tables- Career Development, Campus Activities Board, Amnesty International Club, and the Siena Center were among the groups.  The radio station 101.9 The Mix set up a spin-the-wheel raffle table, giving away bags, tickets to music performances and sports games, and other prizes.  Inflatable games and a life-size Operation board game could be found in the Underground or Old Pool Space.

As the academic workload continues to grow, DU students should remember that amazing possibilities are in the making.  A verse from the song “The Canticle of the Turning” by Rory Cooney comes to mind, “You fixed your sight on your servant's plight, and my weakness you did not spurn, so from east to west shall my name be blest.  Could the world be about to turn?”

July 11, 2012

Dominican Order On June 14th more than 100 faculty and staff from colleges and universities affiliated with the Dominican Order gathered for a long weekend of presentations, discussions, good food and drink.  A small group of students, including myself, received entrance to the Dominican Higher Education Colloquium. Contemplative Vision: Love, Truth, and Reality, was the theme of the conference.  I enjoyed catching up with some of my Dominican peers, along with some new friends from other Dominican institutes including Angelicum in Rome and Molloy College in New York.

One highlight of the weekend was my participation in a presentation with Assistant Professor Shannon Janicki, from the communications arts and sciences department.  I added a student perspective of leadership development in the classroom.  During the same session -- the fourth one out of five sessions -- the presentation preceded one given by Siena Heights University Professor of philosophy Mark Schersten, who spoke about his first year as a dean at Siena Heights University. Millennium Park

Another highlight was spending the late afternoon and evening in downtown Chicago.  My fellow colloquium participants and I savored a lovely picnic in Millennium Park followed by a concert of the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus.  I enjoyed the final performance of Only Converge: An Exaltation of Place by composer Michael Gandolfi.  On the way back on the coach bus we toured some of the downtown area, passing Buckingham FountainMalcolm X College, and the United Center, among other places.

St. Catherine of Siena said to "dwell constantly in the cell of self-knowledge" for true contemplation.  Such constancy should take place before and after moments out on the frontier of community-exploration.  My academic career as a Dominican scholar has caused me to grow in my understanding of both my self and my community.

June 5, 2012

 

St. Catherine of Siena Prayer ServiceSt. Catherine of Siena Prayer Service

 

Dominican's Catherine of Siena Prayer Celebration, which took place in late April, was a definite highlight of this past spring semester.  Performing as St. Dominican Guzman, founder of the Order of the Preachers, I helped to lead the prayer celebration with fellow sophomores Sarah Gromek and Megan Graves, along with Community-based Learning Director MaDonna Thelen.  My fellow actors performed as St. Catherine of Siena, St. Rose of Lima, and Mary Magdalene, the first holy preacher.  We each preached to the audience of 175 people about following the light of Christ, a guide of truth entangled with love.  St. Catherine of Siena was our source of inspiration, a lay Dominican from the 14thcentury.  This well attended prayer celebration is an annual event unique to Dominican University.

RomeRome

 

In preparation for my study abroad trip to Rome in January, I have started studying Italian. I have never traveled to Italy before!  I would probably not have taken the opportunity to travel to Europe so early in my life if I was not attending Dominican.   Since I am going to spend just over one week in the famed European city I thought I should make the most of my time there.  I am shooting for ‘proactive world traveler’ and not ‘ignorant tourist.’  My study abroad experience will exceptionally enrich my overall academic career at Dominican University.  The course attached to the program is called The Art of Renaissance and Baroque Rome: 1400 -1700.  My peers and I will attend two slide show lectures in November so that we receive plenty of background information.  Participants are required to purchase a guidebook compiled by Dominican faculty and staff, along with a just under 200-page textbook.  The whole experience will be capped-off with a momentous essay.

April 17, 2012
Student Involvement Resource Center

Student Involvement Resource Center

The four semesters I have spent at Dominican- and counting- are full of wonderful memories,  from spending time in service and community on Alternative Break Immersion trips, to welcoming new students as a TORCH leader.  It is hard to believe that I still have two more years to go!

As a well-involved student I am used to the ebb and flow of stress.  Anxiety is an expected part of the college experience.  There are deadlines-galore for course assignments, service trip forms, study abroad paperwork, internship applications, the list goes on.  I am thankful for moments of rest and relaxation.  There are a number of locations on campus where I go to momentarily step away from the hectic pace of college life.

Rosary Chapel is a serene place to spend some time alone.  The worship space is open to everyone on campus, whether or not you are a practicing Catholic. An ornate, decorative trim lines the border between the wall and the ceiling.  The windows hold a beauty of their own. The Interfaith Prayer room is a similar location just a few steps away.

A number of comfy chairs are scattered around the Crown library, behind and between the rows of books.  I enjoy taking a break from my studies by flipping through a random book that catches my eye.  If you are looking for another similar area then head up to the third floor.  In the Lewis Link, between the Crown library and Lewis, you will find a pair of green chairs across from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science office.  You can catch a nice view of the Fine Arts building and Meridian VIII stainless steel sculpture.

The Student Involvement Resource Center  (SIRC) is somewhat hard to find.  It is located in the lower level of Coughlin Hall, which you can only get to by going through the basement of Power Hall.  Once you finally reach this fun and relaxing place, first say hello to the student at the welcome desk.  Proceed over to the couch and notice the variety of magazines.  I enjoy flipping through the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly or a recent copy of the Chicago Tribune.  The SIRC is busy one day and quiet another.  Definitely worth stopping by every so often.

If all else fails, weather-permitting, spend some time out by the Grotto, at the south-east end of main campus.  I find great relief standing among the trees surrounding the area. The statue of the Virgin Mary on the small mount at the Grotto is a calming sight.

My challenge to each of you is to spend some time away from dorm rooms or the commuter lounge and check out some of the highlighted areas around campus.  You just might run into me.

April 9, 2012

CarrieLynn Reinhard This week I sat down with Dominican Communication Arts & Sciences Assistant Professor CarrieLynn D. Reinhard to talk about her classes at Dominican and how she made her way here.

Q: How did you arrive at Dominican?

A: Before coming here, I lived outside the U.S. for two and a half years.  I  did research and got a post-doc at a university in Denmark.  After my contract ended I decided to return to the U.S.  I considered positions at universities in Hawaii and California, but Dominican University really caught my eye. I really liked the mission of Dominican to prepare students for ethically engaging with the world they live in.  My own interest in community-minded media production falls along those lines.

Q: As a new professor, what is your perspective on life at Dominican ?

A: I did my undergraduate and graduate work at huge state schools, Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin in Madison.  The school in Denmark where I got my post-doc was a smaller university, but I did not get much of a feel for the communications department there.  The professors were nice, but I had no idea what was going on during meetings because I did not speak Danish.  Coming to Dominican, I now know why a small university is a good place to be. You have a lot more of that collegiate atmosphere, like I had over in Denmark where everyone was friendly and working together.  At Dominican there is this sense that people really want to help you. It creates a good atmosphere for new students.  It really contributes toward a sense of academic growth for students.

Q: What aspects of teaching at Dominican do you really enjoy?

A: I love the small class sizes, which means that I can work more closely with students.  I can be more reflexive and notice when students are confused about the material.  I can make adjustments to the class schedule before moving on.  I also love the freedom and encouragement to push the department, in terms of what technology we are using for production and pedagogy.  There are a lot of great opportunities for research and instruction, even for my own advancement.  As a young professor on the tenure track, I am in the perfect place to reach my goal as a scholar of communication methods.

Q: What are some of your favorite elements of the classes you teach?

A: I really like my classes on persuasion, convergent media, and digital communication technology.  I am fond of the projects that have been set up through them.  For the persuasion course I focus on the integration of visual messages. For convergent media I have my students see how all media technologies can be used in tandem toward a strategic campaign.  My focus for the digital communication technology course is on socially beneficial purposes.  I am having my students think about the technology they use with the Dominican mindset, that all are to be of service to the community.

March 21, 2012

Countless people are living in the margins of society.   The homeless struggle to find shelter and food all over the United States, from Oakland, CA to Boston, MA.  Instead of spending my break back home in good ol’ Carol Stream, IL, I caught a mega-bus at Union Station and headed out to Kansas City, MO on a Alternative Spring Break Immersion (ABI) trip, called The Works of Mercy. University Minister, Matt Palkert, led the group with junior Corey McClure as his student leader.  My fellow volunteers and I worked at the Cherith Brook Catholic Worker community in the outskirts of town.

Blowing insultation into a roof

Dominican University alternative spring breakers blow insulation into the roof of a Kansas City, MO home they were fixing up.

I never experienced a dull moment on this trip. One of our tasks was to help insulate a home, and it turned out to be much harder than it looks. While I was on the ground tearing open packages of insulation, which expands to four times it's size, my fellow ABI volunteers, Megan Knape and Catholic Worker, Josh Armfield were up on the roof of the home we were insulating with the insulation blower tube in hand. We tried to make as little of a mess as possible, which is no small feat considering how insulation easily spreads out like new fallen snow.  There are numerous chickens on the ground, who clucked around between the two homes. We quickly raked up as much loose insulation as possible so that the chickens would not eat much of it. At the heart of the trip was time spent among the homeless and financially burdened. Four days a week Cherith Brookopens its doors to anyone wishing for a hearty breakfast.  Twenty people from the street are able to sign up for a shower and a clean set of clothes.  During these times in the morning I held conversations with some of the local volunteers and the homeless.  I experienced both shy and lively conversations with those who came in for breakfast.

Alternative Spring Break, Kansa. MO

Dominican University alternative spring breakers stop for lunch in Kansas City, MO.

I get so energized by participating in service trips like this past Spring ABI trips.  Strengthening friendships with fellow volunteers and creating long-distance connections are just some of the lasting benefits. ABI trips have the power to widen and change perspectives.

February 28, 2012

Ever since my sophomore year of high school I have wanted to worked for the Catholic Church in some capacity. For most of my high school career I was a Peer Ministry Team member with my home parish Corpus Christi. I enjoy sharing my faith with others, giving witness talks, leading small group discussions, and staying 30 minutes or so after the weekly youth group meeting to talk to the youth director. Going deeper and deeper into my Catholic faith has given my life lasting meaning. When I was shopping for a college I was only looking at private Catholic institutions. I told myself that I was meant to be a high school youth director, university minister, Theology teacher or professor, or even enter the religious life with the Dominicans, the Franciscans, or the local diocese. Thus I am a Theology major. Some notable professors who have helped me to feel comfortable in this major include Allison Gray, Fr. Richard Woods, and Kathy Heskin. The story does not end there, since I am also majoring in Corporate Communications. Ever since high school my writings and speaking abilities have been great. My freshman of high school of I was in the theatre production Lute Song, in which I played a wise monk. If I was not antsy during most of the production then I probably would be a theatre major now, but that was not in the cards. Since I was good at giving witness talks in my church youth group, along with an interest in the business world, I thought the Corporate Communications major would be a good fit. I want to know how organizational communications work on the inside, between departments, and then outside with other organizations. I am intrigued by marketing and advertising strategies, along with how communication can effectively take place in a multicultural business world. Professors Renato Bacci, Jennifer Dunn, and Frank Marcello have beneficially impacted my time here at Dominican University. On a side note, I am looking forward  to going on an Alternative Break Immersion trip to Kansas City, Missouri for Spring Break. We are taking a 10-hour long mega-bus ride and are staying at the Cherith Brook Catholic Worker community center. The eight students (including myself) and university minister Matt Palkert will have a truly memorable Spring Break.  

February 13, 2012
Professor David Perry

Professor David Perry

History Professor David Perry was gracious enough to have a conversation about his five years thus far in our beloved institution.  The following is an accumulation of notable moments.

Q: What is it about Dominican that intrigues you?

A: What I find interesting about Dominican is that for both students and faculty-- Dominican really asks us to commit to an institution as a whole people-- that’s different for a student, faculty member or staff member. We are a healthy institution; we don't serve it as a fragmentary people, we really commit to it. And there is a reward for that-- that is the essence of what Dominican really is.  I find this very intriguing, compelling and hard.

Q: What are your thoughts on the faculty-to-student ratio?

A: I would always have more faculty members to students, because the one-on-one conversations are just wonderful.  I come from a big state university.  My first teaching experiences as a graduate student were in 300-person classes, with a professor in front, with each of us (my fellow teaching assistants and myself) dealing with 35 students or so.  We are blessed here.  Students, I hope you know that you are blessed here.  The faculty is all about collaborating and communicating with undergraduate students like you.

Q: How about the student body in general?

A: What I like is how many different paths Dominican Students took to get to this point, whether it’s the 18 year-old fresh out of a Chicago public high school, or the 50 year-old grandmother who is coming back to school.  There are people who went through the local Catholic school system, who know the neighborhood well and are living at home.  Then there are those who come from far away, who have come here to Chicago and have not only to experience Dominican for the first time, but the whole Midwest.

Q: When did you first discover your passion for history?

A: When I went to college as an undergraduate I was convinced that I would not be a history or theatre major.  I graduated as a history and theatre major.  So somewhere along the line I must have tried to talk myself out of my path.  My parents are history professors; I grew up in academia and I knew a lot about both its charms and its perils.  In high school and college I found my history classes very rewarding.  I became gradually drawn into the medieval past, a place that was a once foreign, but also familiar.  I am an Irish-Jew from Tennessee with eastern European, English and New England roots; a very American past.  It's only in America that someone like me exists.  Western Civilization is my heritage.  Once I got into a classroom I couldn't get out.

Q: What can a student look forward to as a history major?

A: To survive as a history major- to flourish- you have to be very good at interrogating data.  You learn how to draw information for your purposes to then articulate your findings that are coherent, certainly in writing, preferably as well in speech.  Those are skills that prepare you for just about anything.  Any field that requires research, history gives you the skills.  We have lots of students who go on to law or business school and government work.  It's good if you have nice thoughts inside your head but if you can't share them, then you won't flourish as a history major and you won't flourish in the business world.

Q: Are there any majors, minors, or programs you would like to comment on?

A: I am directing the Catholic Studies minor while also developing and supporting the Medieval and Renaissance Studies minor.  Both of these are new and approved within the past year.  I am very excited about them.  They ask and support students in crossing disciplinary boundaries to think about big topics. An undergraduate education is about building links between all of the things we learn.  How do we combine the breadth and depth?  I think these interdisciplinary minors are how students will really take a firm hold of their education outside of the work they do toward completing their majors.

January 30, 2012

The Language Arts and Sciences Seminars, taken by students once each academic year, are insightful courses. I am enrolled in the Dominican Honors Program, which means that I get to choose from a separate pool of seminars. This week I attended the fifth class meeting of my honor seminar Individual, Community, Justice; Being Human and Citizen, taught by Dr. Weisman. Peace Circle

One highlight was  when we had a thought provoking discussion about the meaning of justice, from different perspectives to real-life connections. Another highlight was learning how to create and manage a peace circle. My fellow classmates and I experienced group-sharing through the use of a talking piece, when everyone is granted the liberty to speak his or her mind numerous times during a session. Whoever has the talking piece is given everyone’s full attention. Circle values were established, with chances to debate the rationality of each person’s contribution. We shared our, “safe-houses,”  which are places where we feel we are not being judged. I spoke about imaging myself with my immediate family at my cousin’s house in a suburb of Sacramento, California. I loved vacationing out west with them, where life is momentarily worry-free and an adventure. To learn more about Peace Circles read The Little Book of Peace Processes by Kay Pranis.

The primary text for the course is Republic by Plato. With book one under my belt I can tell that seminar may be my favorite course this semester. I enjoy Plato’s irony-filled humor. Gaze into his eyes…Plato wants you to repeat, “An unexamined life is not worth living, an unexamined life…”

January 20, 2012
Pazckis

Pazckis

Another semester has arrived. Fellow DU students, now is your second chance of the year to join a club, score some A's, make new friends, and maybe start using the workout room more (I know I will). Christmas break was such a blessing, although the absence of snow did break my heart. It’s hard to believe that Lent will be starting so soon. I am looking forward to the pazckis, special donuts that are sold by Polish Club.

To get the ball rolling for the Student Technology Scholarship Program the IT department chose two students to each receive a lovely iPad2. They will be part of a Q & A student panel at the Technology Expo on February 8th. The lovely prose that you are now reading was drafted on one of those iPads. Yes, I would say the semester is going quite well already.

I am about to begin my second stab at joining the ruling class known as the RAs. I plan on utilizing Career Developmentover the next few weeks, from scheduling a mock-interview to attending a resume critique.

Wilmot Mountain

Wilmot Mountain

This weekend I am going snowboarding at Wilmot Mountain for the first time. It is located  not far into the land of cheese, beer and badgers (Wisconsin). I was happily surprised when some of my friends asked me to join them.

This semester my schedule is comprised of mostly communications courses, three once-a-week 3-hour courses. I am taking just one theology course, Great Christian Thinkers: Thomas Aquinas, taught by Fr. Richard Woods. I am excited to find out exactly why Aquinas is the Common Doctor of the Church.

The 7:00-10:00 p.m. Monday night class I attended last semester stopped me from going to the free two hours of bowling, 10pm-12am, at Circle Lanes (I did not want to arrive 30 minutes late). I am stoked to go to Monday-night bowling (during the months of February and March) along with finally seeing a movie for just three dollars on one of the DU-Day-at-the-Lake-Theatre Days, at the Classic Cinemas theatre on Lake Street.

January 2, 2012

I love snowboarding. I mean it, I really do. Almost every winter I drive 30 minutes (what a long commute, huh?) from home to Villa Olivia Ski Resort in Bartlett, IL. Villa is by no means anything like Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac, Michigan or Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, California. I am still thankful for its intermediate level slopes and close location. At just around $30 for a lift ticket why not begin the boarding season with an easy prep run. It is an undeclared tradition between my younger neighbors and I to go to Villa at some point over the winter months. I am looking forward to continuing this tradition over Christmas break.

Shaun White

Shaun White

The former-flying-tomato (Shaun White) seems to receive the majority of  attention in the snowboarding world. Recently Travis Rice, who first made a splash into the boarding scene back in 2001, when he was only 18, has been in the news again. He was a participant in the recent film The Art of Flight, an epic-shredding adventure. In a broad sense I look to him as a source of inspiration in both growing as a rider and excelling as a DU student. Going off massive jumps (which I have yet to come close to) can be compared to starting on projects and essays early while actively engaging in class discussions. Do you have confidence your abilities, in an admirable end-product?

This Advent season I am looking forward to the birth of Christ in the hearts of man, and a new pair of snowboarding gloves. The nativity is what matters most; gloves will eventually fall apart and more will be bought at a sporting goods store, but the hope of the Lord will keep my future outlook warm and joyful. I will conclude with this thought: Can anyone paint a masterpiece or compose a great symphony in a couple of hours?

December 6, 2011

Aaaaaaahhhhhh. Look at me avoiding exclamation marks! I have three massive projects to complete by the end of finals week. One is an intensification project and thus my own doing, but the latter two are final essays assigned to everyone in class. With that said, I have learned a lot about college life over the past year and a half.

First, make sure to drink caffeinated beverages to increase your chances of staying up-to-date with the assigned readings. You will avoid stress and smile more often. Do so in moderation. Second, when you are at home for the weekend you are not allowed to spend excess time looking at photo albums, listening to music, or doing chores for your parents instead of doing research for final projects. You may want to relieve anxiety and/or help your family. You can be a calm-and-collected Good Samaritan in moderation and at the right moment. Third, if your visit to a new-friend’s dormitory is not reciprocated, then the relationship is not worth continuing. There must be mutual interest if you expect a lasting connection. Fifth, keep a notebook with you at all times to write down possible topics, themes, conflicts etc. for course essays. Sixth, the workers down at the Cyber Café will not let you buy two meal-exchanges for yourself at one time. Do not waste your time or plan-points. Seventh, when you have all four of your wisdom teeth removed, you should rest in bed the following day no matter how little your mouth hurts. Also, do not have them removed during Thanksgiving break- your stomach will not be ready for the big meal and the Vicodin will not help you focus on homework. Finally, go to your weekly workshift especially when you are stressed out over homework. There is a reason why you do more with your life than write essays and study for exams- let your mind rest by focusing on a completely different task while receiving an hourly-wage. I recommend applying for a Institutional Advancement phonathon position, or keep a look out for a future blogger position.

I may be ranting right now, but I am not the only sophomore who thinks that the first semester of year-two at Hogwarts- I mean Dominican University- has been a stressful adventure. Do you know what brings me peace when I feel stressed out? No, not a Fiber-One bar. Music is the answer! Please take a moment now to listen to the provided song. New York, NY, by Chronic Future

November 14, 2011

How many of you remember hearing, “You are student first and foremost?” Well it is true, as a Dominican  student  I am obligated to pursue my studies with a fiery passion. Some of you reading this might be high school students looking into DU, or you might be a peer of mine, either way you might be thinking: You have got to be kidding me! I went to college hoping to improve my social life! Whoa, slow down there, have you ever heard of balance? Do you want to have a good chance of getting the job you have always wanted? The saying is true- student first, social-butterfly second- and that is a very good thing. That statement might seem like a no-brainer, but we all need to be aware of it. I say that, taking time for your academics will actually benefit your time outside of class assignments.

Three classes come to mind when considering far-reaching benefits. The first is Business and Professional Speech, taught by Dr. Ric Calabrese. The course focuses on the proper techniques and methods for giving speeches. Professors expect students to, improve their eye contact, move  with meaning, use vocal inflection, use correct diction, and understand the difference between the halo effect and the horn effect. The final presentation was about our passions- I spoke about summer mission trips.

Microeconomics with Professor Peter Alonzi is another course that stands out. Students gain an appreciation for the relationship between supply and demand, quantity and price, benefits and hurts. Professor Alonzi teaches his students how to be smart consumers who care for their future, the economy and the earth. Do you know what a ‘sunk cost’ is? My freshman seminar, Playing with the Passions, is the final course I will mention. Prof. Ann Charney Colmo, who just retired from her professorship at Dominican, carefully took us through The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, an excerpt from Descartes’ writings, and The Brothers Karamazov by Theodor Dostoevsky. Implications included: -How we can analytically and logically come to an understanding of both God’s and Satan’s role in creation, especially within the mindset of the last century, including:

  • The possible separation between body and soul;
  • Loving our family even when they are belligerent alcoholics, like Karamazov Sr.;
  • How we hold healthy criticism for the world in which we live, with norms and expectations in mind.

I have taken at least three more classes that have made a lasting impression on me. College is the time to expand our horizons and to discover our passions. Take the time to build a strong foundation for your future. Take the time at Dominican University.

October 31, 2011

I met an authentic and wise professor during the spring semester of my freshman year. Peter Alonzi is an economics professor who oozes with Caritas et Veritas, Love and Truth.

October 25, 2011

What a transition into sophomore year has been for me, a completely different schedule, plenty of new classmates and a new roommate. I should write a book about my time at Dominican University, A Dominican Education: My Four Years at the Real Hogwarts. I would sell a million copies while at the same time be sued by J.K. Rowling.

Today I met with my good friend Andrea at the Cyber Cafe to chat, enjoy a hot beverage and do some homework. I have seen her, along with some other people, only a few times this semester. Our class and work schedules conflict like crazy. So I enjoy the times we have together, on retreats or while enjoying a ‘What’s-On-Wednesday?’ event (stuff-a-bear, Italian ice etc).

Speaking of retreats, the Modern God overnight fall retreat was this past weekend at the Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center. We stopped for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, ten minutes away from the retreat center. Four people gave witness-talks, based on the Dominican Pillars: study, prayer (I gave this one), service, and community. Twelve participants signed up, including the five retreat leaders. We split into two small groups, which were both highly successful. I led the Tai Chi prayer meditation exercise outside on the beautiful grounds. On Saturday evening, some of us played Apple to Apples and, my new favorite game, Picture Telephone (write a sentence then pass it to the next person who draws what they see, and then repeat). My favorite part of the retreat was the service meditation stations activity, which included reflections on starvation in third-world countries, some wise words by the Dalai Lama, women in Middle East who have each won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their fight for women-equality, among other topics. Many people liked the Affirmation Bags, where we wrote notes to each other affirming how we saw God working through them.

I have had my share of retreats this semester! Somehow there is still one more left- The Fall Busy Student Retreat. I recommend everyone to check it out. It is a low-key retreat that happens on campus, over the course of four days (about an hour each day). Stop by the University Ministry Center for more information.

October 14, 2011

Last Friday was a momentous day. At 6 p.m., my friend Julia and I rented bicycles through the BikeDU program. After wandering around campus for ten minutes, someone graciously pointed out where the DU bikes are kept- in the parking garage of all places. Dominican provides helmets, air-pumps and a key to the bike-lock at the Lewis Resource Desk. At first I felt dismayed when the bike-lock fell apart onto the ground after I unlocked it, but apparently it is supposed to do that.

Bike DU

Dominican University Bike DU Program

Finally at 6:40 p.m. my friend and I made our way over to the Priory campus, where we met up with the rest of the group going to Taize, a prayer service that originated in France 60 years ago. Ascension Parish in Oak Park was the worship site. On the first Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. the parish invites Christians from the surrounding area (I ran into an old friend from West Chicago) to come together for communal worship. Six of us biked over to the parish while the rest drove. We made it just as Taize started. The hour-long prayer service is such a spiritually enriching experience. I am re-energized in my faith every time I attend. I totally dig the candle ceremony and the ten-minutes of quiet reflection.

Oberweis Dairyis not far from the corner of Lake St. and Oak Park Ave., and was our dessert-stop of choice before coming back to Dominican. We arrived at the dairy story around 9 p.m. (don’t forget that some us had to bike back from Taize). The Mocha Frozen Coffee called me by name. How could I ever say no? One of the workers called me over to the counter just to say, “Never mind.” Everyone got a kick out of this strange situation. She made it sound like my frozen coffee was ready- but it was not. Thankfully I did receive my treat soon after.

Oberweis_Ice_Cream_Dairy_Store_Oak_Park
Oberweis Ice Cream Dairy Store in Oak Park

The DU bicycles provide a smooth ride from the Main Campus to the Priory Campus (known as the Pri-Pri to residents). Students can also enjoy a ride around the OPRF neighborhood. Go ahead and bike over The Lake Theatre on Lake Street for an afternoon showing.

October 13, 2011

I worked my first Institutional Advancement Phonathon shift last week. Whenever I talk to people about calling alumnae/i to obtain donations, they say they could never sit in a boardroom for three hours with a phone in-hand. I personally enjoy calling Dominican graduates to update their information and tell them about upcoming events on campus. I always ask for Annual Fund donations at the end of the conversation. Doing so otherwise would not be polite or successful.

On Wednesday some of my fellow Greek Civilization course mates and I took the Green Line downtown to explore the Art Institute. We wisely chose to go on a free day, which falls on the first and third Wednesday of each month. We put our scholar-caps on as we observed Ancient Greek and Roman art. After we  finished taking notes, we enjoyed the miniatures room, a permanent exhibit at the institute which showcases scaled-down rooms from various time periods.

Supper was enjoyed at Bennigan’s, across the street from the Art Institute. I savored a burger topped with bacon, cheddar, thin onion rings, lettuce and tomato, along with Guinness sauce on the side. My mouth is watering right now.

Taking the “L” downtown is quick and easy. When you are with a group of friends, then it is even better. Other passengers enjoy glancing over if you are having a peculiar conversation. One of my classmates noticed a tiger patch on then man’s jeans, who was standing beside her. She commented on the cool patch to the rest of us. The man looked confused and put-off by hearing the comment, probably because she failed to directly compliment him. Another girl who was with me noticed a man sitting not far from us who could not help but chuckle at our conversation. Like any group of college students, we were talking about our classes and related professors and our plans for the weekend.

September 29, 2011

The Connections Retreat was this past Friday evening at the Priory Campus. It is one of the three free retreats University Ministry offers each year. My fellow Student Leadership and Ministry (SLAM) Retreat core members and I spend a lot fun and intense time collaborating on the programming for the retreat in order to make it a success. This year's retreat theme was, find hidden meaning by making connections between the past and present.

Nearly 30 participants came over to the Priory Campus for an evening of reflection, community, fun and free dinner.

I led a 15-minute guided reflection, which included looking at relationships, celebrations, passions, hobbies and God’s role in each person’s life. The participants were lying on the floor around the room; they focused on their breathing and relaxed their muscles. At the beginning, I passed out a Magic Eyeimage and asked them to look the picture. When they looked at the image a second time, at the end of the reflection, I told them to find the hidden image within. I love guided reflection because people rarely get a chance to concentrate in this way on a daily basis. The participants spent 20 minutes or so writing down all the thoughts that popped into their heads during the reflection. We spread Magic Eye books out in the retreat space for participants to browse on their own time as well.

Magic Eye

Magic Eye

For the final activity, while music was playing, participants walked around the room looking for three puzzle pieces, each with their name and a question. We took time for personal reflection followed by a small group discussion session.

Thank you to all students who took the time to come on this awesome retreat!

September 12, 2011

The second week of school was hectic. On Tuesday and Wednesday I spent a fair amount of my time at the Student Involvement Fair. As a sophomore the experience of attending the fair was the complete opposite of my freshman year. Instead of browsing the possibilities I was now presenting them. As a  TORCH facilitator (New Student Orientation Program), Student Leadership and Ministry (SLAM) member and Resident Student Association representative (RSA) it was my duty to promote these enriching experiences. Did anyone try the international candy that Campus Climates was handing out? I  loved the Polish candy!

Check out my video of the Student Involvement Fair!

Wednesday was the first Bagel Day of the school year. Students can stop by University Ministry the first Wednesday of each month for Bagels, coffee and juice from Panera Bread (yum).

I went to my first floor meeting of the year. The Resident Assistants were kind enough to give my fellow residents and me pizza. Word to the wise: get a lovely container to stick some pizza in fridge for breakfast the following morning (yay, cold pizza!).

Thursday was the second class meeting for Hebrew Scripture Part I, a three hour-long course. During the class my peers and I were given maps to study for a quiz on the areas related for Old Testament studies. I had no idea I was taking a geography course. Stuff like this just tends to creep up on you.

Campus Activities Board (CAB) put on their first event of the semester on Friday. CAB rented a large outdoor blow-up screen to show the movie Kungfu Panda 2. What a hilarious and thoughtful movie starring the voice of Jack Black. The main character, Po’s, ignorance is almost too much to bear.

Over the weekend, the SLAM team went on a retreat to The Siena Center in Racine, WI. We listened and reflected on a series of witness talks related to the four Dominican pillars (prayer, study, community and service) and the university motto, Caritas et Veritas. The retreat center is right along the coast of Lake Michigan; the perfect place to skip stones on the water.

Next weekend is the Emerging Leaders Retreat, a weekend trip to Lake Geneva, WI where first year students to come together to learn about leadership and themselves. I am also a leader at The Connections Retreat, a much shorter retreat on Friday the 23rd. The Connections Retreat will start at 5:30 pm and will include a free dinner along with much needed reflection. All Dominican students are welcome.

September 6, 2011

My last road trip of the summer was to North Dakota, as mentioned in my last post. This mission trip was a blast! I am finally sure of one fact: it is impossible to sleep on a coach bus without screwing up your neck.  During the week at St. Ann’s Parish in Belcourt, ND, my fellow volunteers and I cut down and removed huge branches from a cemetery, tore up moldy carpeting, tore down old drywall, and spent time with patients at a nearby nursing home by playing Yahtzee and praying the Rosary with them. We met an 80 year-old Native American who played an active role in the local government for Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. He was also a master craftsman in flute, snowshoe and bow & arrow making. Each night the parishioners of St. Ann’s Parish prepared dinner for us, including fried dough and fish. We were lucky enough to be at the parish during their Mission Week, when the parishioners recognize their duties as practicing Catholics within the Church. Monsignor John, from Orange County, CA, was the Mission Speaker. He is a superb story-teller and Old Testament scholar. What an entirely unique experience to spread the hope of Christ by going on a mission trip! This was my fourth one and it does not get old.

I moved into my Power Hall dorm room on August 21st. I am excited to be rooming with a student from Poland named Krzysztof. This past week was taken up by four TORCH trainings, two Resident Student Association (RSA) trainings, and one Student Leadership and Ministry (SLAM) training. Somehow I made time to skate the streets of Oak Park/River Forest on my long board. The TORCH trainings culminated to Welcome Weekend.  My fellow leaders and I performed in the skit titled The DU Zone, which showcased some possible situations any college student may face. Beside the skit we led small groups, went to presentations about different campus topics, and witnessed a provocative and educational, live show titled Sex Signals. The RSA ice cream social was also fun. I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream? DU Fest was on Sunday afternoon. I learned how to make cotton candy and I won a duffle bag from the radio station that came.

Classes have not even started yet. I can’t wait to be academically challenged at this marvelous institution! Video of the 2011 DUFest:

August 22, 2011

Last month I traveled with my parents and older brother to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our first stop was to the Milwaukee Art Museum, well worth the $12 student admission.Milwaukee Art Museum After the museum,we went to the Basilica of St. Josaphat (Joe-suh-fit) which was just a short drive from the downtown area, originally built in the 19th century. The church’s vaulted ceiling and ornate marbleSprecher Mircrobrewery architecture are superb. We then went on a tour at the Miller Brewery, which concluded with free beer samples and pretzels. As a 19 year-old I had to instead drink Coke and lemonade (the humiliation was horrible). We shared top-notch seafood, pulled-pork sandwiches, a gyro, and a burger topped with red pepper all at the Milwaukee Public Market. A real high-light of the trip was the Bastille Days French Festival in the downtown area, with food and merchandise vendors galore. Free cake too! (Did Marie Antoinette really say “let them eat cake?”). Last but not least was a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory not far from the Wisconsin-Illinois border (More samples!!). Oh yeah- and we stopped at Sprecher Micro-Brewery to pick up some gourmet soda in Glendale, WI.

For the first time Ehhhhhhvvverrrrrr I was asked to go with a group to a midnight showing,Cathedral of St Josaphat specifically to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2. To be frank, I am not a fan of the Harry Potter series. I have read the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th books. Why did I skip books two and three? That is a mystery. But I must say I thought Part 2 was EPIC; one gnarly way to end the series. The importance of friendship, reconciliation, sacrifice, and the embracement of death were all fancifully touched upon. If you are a practicing Catholic like myself you should be able to notice how Harry Potter is basically a “Christ” figure, Dumbledore is God (in the Purgatory/heavenly train station scene at least), etc. Obviously, whether or not you are religious you will enjoy HP7 Part 2 for its triumphant finale.

I am looking forward to my fourth mission trip through my home parish, Corpus Christi in Carol Stream, IL, at the end of Bastille Daysthis month. We will be taking a 16 hour drive, by way of coach bus, to Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. I am sure you are all thinking that I will go insane from being on a bus with 40 other people for that long of a time. You are right, which is why I will savor what is left of sanity. And believe me- I sure need your prayers and good wishes.

July 3, 2011

I just finished my freshman year while living up college-life at Dominican! On and around campus I enjoy jogging through the beautiful neighborhood, playing a game of pool in the Coughlin Commons, throwing a Frisbee or football around in the Quad. I also enjoy going to mass on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Rosary Chapel (which is of course optional for every student).

To put it simply, Dominican University is a light that shines through the darkness. There is such great fellowship through conversation, service, and academics. Even as a freshman resident, I willingly immersed myself in the Dominican culture. Over the course of this first year alone, I participated in the Emerging Leaders Retreat, Fall Retreat at Techny Towers retreat center, the Fall Alternative Break immersion in Dubuque, IA, the Mission to the Mound retreat in Sinsinawa, WI during spring break, and two Busy Student Retreats. All of these events are provided by University Ministry and the Office of Student Involvement (OSI). Ever since my sophomore year of high school I have enjoyed participating in ministry events. OSI has also brought to campus a number of hilarious comedians and even a hypnotist! It is such a relief to know that there are plenty of activities that go on around campus every single day (including weekends).

I first looked into Dominican University because my mother attended Trinity High School nearby. She told me about Petersen's Ice Cream Parlour on Chicago Ave., Johnnie's Beef on North Ave., Russell's Bar-b-q on Thatcher Rd. (OK I love food) and the beautiful churches and homes in the area. Concordia University, just six minutes down Division St., allows the general public to enjoy their track and field when it is not in use during a sports event.

Dominican University is the right fit for me. Its well-balanced Catholic culture and openness to students of every faith and background make this university a great place to call home.