Thursday, November 15, 2007

Xavier students off to Iowa - yes, Iowa

For a blog entitled XavierUniverse, we seem to be blogging about the US of A lately. But, we are part of the universe, too.

On Friday, November 30 Gene Beaupre, Xavier's director of government relations and a political science instructor, and others will travel with about 48 Xavier students to Iowa to experience the caucuses first-hand. Cincinnati freelance reporter Joe Wessels will tag - and blog - along. All will share their experiences in this blog and, through the links at the right, in their own blogs.

More details as I get them.

A Jesuit Identity Resource is Online

Available online from Xavier University, the Jesuit Identity Resource provides mission and identity information, resources, and networking for educators and students. Information in the resource is reflected in this inaugural monthly newsletter, including program spotlights from around the country, definitions of terms used in Ignatian circles, conference information and a topic of the month. The opening topic is based on Georgetown University historian Fr. John O'Malley's recipe for Jesuit education, which can be read and seen in a video stream on the homepage. What do you think is the most significant or distinctive characteristic of Jesuit education today? Visit the website today

More About Going to Bixoli

Last night was the first meeting of the AB group going to Bixoli. Again, I'm so impressed with the students and their enthusiasm for this project. Heidi and Emma, the site leaders, informed us we will be working with Hands On Gulf Coast. Since Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, dedicated volunteers have been working hard in Biloxi, MS to help the community pick up and start again through this organization. Volunteers from around the country have helped in everything from clearing debris, to tutoring kids, to beautifying parks, to building homes. We don't know specific tasks yet, but it all sounds very exciting.
I was also reminded I need to complete the van training so I can help drive to Bixoli. I've driven a 15 passenger van many times, as my friend Coleen owns one and we use it to go antiquing every year. But I'll get the formal training so I can get my certificate!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Alternative Breaks.... At My Age!!

Earlier this year I wrote a news release about a Xavier club called Alternative Breaks. During spring and summer breaks, X students, rather than going to the beach, etc., travel around the world on service projects. Some go to the Ukraine, some to California, Florida or Boston, etc. The work that these students do was truly inspiring to me, so this year I signed up to be a faculty/staff team member on a trip in March 2008.

The faculty/staff team member is truly part of the 'team.' They are NOT the adults in charge. The students run the entire trip. The factuly/staff member is expected to help with fundraising, participate in service projects, etc., just the same as the students. They must also adhere to the same rules such as no alcohol, etc. during any event connected to AB.

I finally learned last week that I will be traveling with 10 Xavier students to Biloxi, Mississippi to help with hurricane relief. It boggles my mind that more than two years later the relief effort down there is still underway. Our group is one of four or five groups heading to the New Orleans area.

I met the students for the first time last week at an outdoor AB gathering on the greenspace. It was a bit chilly, but there was free hot chocolate. Everyone gathered in their respective 'trip' groups and introductions were made... the students talks about their hometowns, their majors, etc. I explained a bit what I do at Xavier as the media relations specialist.

Then there were the icebreakers... the human knot. Each person grasps another's hand until everyone is holding hands every which way across a circle... then the group has to try to untie the knot without letting go. We did pretty well, but didn't quite accomplish the task. Still it was fun. Next were charades with AB and Xavier themes. I lucked out and got 'basketball.' :)

Even though we were together for only about an hour I was truly inspired by the spirit and energy of the dozens and dozens of students who are taking part in this adventure. As I left the evening's activities I was energized by their youth and spark and that fact that they were so accepting of a person more than twice their age! Maybe it's that old adage... "You're only as old as you feel"... that night I felt 19 again.

I hope over the course of the next few months and particularly during our trip to write about this experience. I am very excited about it and can't wait for the adventure to begin.