The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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University teams with Catholic charity

The University, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services, has developed a new program of study that looks to promote awareness of social activism overseas.

University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. signed a Memorandum of Understanding on April 13 with the Executive Vice-President of U.S. Operations for CRS Jane Rosenhauer, to officially establish the Scholars in Global Solidarity program.

The program will start a partnership between the two institutions that will exchange professors in the University and CRS employees working overseas in humanitarian work.

Faculty members will be trained by CRS to work on issues involving poverty, food shortages and homelessness around the world. Rosenhauer said that most of the countries would be located in Latin America.

After returning from training, professors would use their experience to teach students who are involved in social justice programs, Rosenhauer explained. She said that as of right now, no training program had been set up for professors participating in the program.

Rosenhauer said the program would benefit the University community and the goals of CRS, which she said are very similar.

“When CRS helps Universities to integrate global solidarity into academic programs and when academics in turn share their expertise with CRS, our students and those in need overseas all benefit,” she said.

The University is the third Catholic institution to partner with the charity. The University of San Francisco and the University of Dayton signed similar memorandums with CRS in February of this year.

Sister Margaret John Kelly, D.C., the executive director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society, mentioned that the two institutions had a history together.

Rosenhauer also discussed the partnership two have had in the past. She said if anybody had asked her how many times she had been to St. John’s before, she probably couldn’t count.

“I think that’s a reflection about St. John’s because as Sister Margaret John said, I’ve worked in the area of social mission of the church for most of my adult life and I don’t think you can do that and not cross paths with St. John’s,” she said.

Rosenhauer praised the University’s efforts in raising awareness for international conflicts.

“We also know your students have been at the forefront of issues affecting areas where CRS is working with communities in crisis,” she said.  Rosenhauer specifically pointed out the University’s response to the earthquake in Haiti, and its efforts in raising awareness for a peaceful election in Sudan last year.

“We’re very grateful for all that your students are doing,” she said.

Melissa Snow, a graduate student in the Global Development and Social Justice program, said that CRS had already assisted her in her career of assisting human trafficking victims.

“They had a significant impact in helping me build long term restoration homes,” she said. “They’ve helped bring prosecutors in to fight those who are involved in human trafficking.”

Snow said St. John’s involvement in global development is what drew her to the graduate program, and that although she’s graduating in May she hopes to develop the program in its first year.

In the concluding speech of the ceremony, Harrington said the memorandum put a continued focus on the University’s mission.

“Any institution or organization must focus on its mission,” he said. “The mission is really what must drive that institution or organization.”
Harrington said that the academic program was an embodiment for what the University stands.

“St. John’s is most true to what it is as a Vincentian and Catholic University, when it’s involved in projects and partnerships such as this,” he said. “That’s who we are, and that’s what we’re about.”

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Anthony O'Reilly
Anthony O'Reilly, News Editor
Anthony has been one of the most, if not the most, loyal person at this paper. His passion and his dedication to reporting and production is unparalleled. In the last few weeks, he has demonstrated the qualities of a leader and a coach that are required for this position. I have nothing but confidence that Anthony will do a great job. He will serve you, the reader, by providing the most honest, objective news possible. —Terence Cullen News Editor, Emeritus
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