Student Voices: Becoming "Us

Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, Sep 2017

By Miranda Richard, Published on 09/01/17

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Student Voices: Becoming "Us

Student Voices: Becoming "Us" in a Polarzed Age Miranda Richard Follow this and additional works at: - stuDeNt VOICes First, we decided to host a screening of HUSH, a new documentary with a pro-choice director who wanted to seek the truth about the health risks of abortion, because facts matter. This documentary intends to start a conversation on college campuses about abortion and how it affects women. Second, we attempted to host a pro-choice/pro-life dialogue on campus between pro-life activist Stephanie Gray and a pro-choice activist. H*yas for Choice declined to participate in our event because they felt it was not appropriate for them to “facilitate anti-choice speakers and dialogue.” However, GU College Democrats (GUCD) agreed to cosponsor and search for a pro-choice speaker. Disappointingly, GUCD was unable to find a speaker for the event. I began my year as GURTL president optimistic about the possibility for true dialogue on campus about abortion, but I By Miranda Richard The brochures, the info sessions, TV spots, and bookstore memorabilia all tout some variation of the same refrain: men and women for others. Prospective students write essays about their dedication to serving diverse communities, tell tales of transformative service trips, and outline their plans to join campus social justice clubs. have learned that reconciliation takes time and a lot of energy. We cannot hope to change the campus community in only a few months. Rather, pro-life leaders must build on the work of their predecessors and persist amid failures. In truth, life is too important an issue to abandon. The pursuit of truth and justice at Georgetown is not easy, but it is always worthwhile. Amelia Irvine, the president of Right to Life at Georgetown University, is a sophomore studying government and economics; she is from Phoenix, Arizona The Jesuit tradition is one of service above self, so logic follows that the students at Jesuit schools ought to be dedicated servants. All this talk about service to others prompts the questions: What does it mean to serve? And who are these abstract “others?” And how, now, in this polarized political era? When we speak of serving others, the word takes on a slightly more specific meaning. “Other” here means “that which is distinct from, different from, or opposite to oneself.” Through this lens, serving others not only means providing help to people beyond our own communities or social networks. It means extend Becoming “Us” in a Polarized Age Publ2is6hed bCyOe-NPVuEblRicSaAtiToInOs@NMSOarNqueJtEteS,U2I0T17HIGHER EDUCATION ing a helping hand to people who As we move through gradua- Trump’s election. Our commitare different in terms of wealth, tion and leave college life behind, ment to serving others prompts us worldview, race, class, or creed. I hope that my classmates who to listen to our fellow Americans Today, the Jesuit tradition of will enter diverse professions – and find common ground. By serving people who are different from medicine to finance to sales serving others, we can engage in from us takes on a new importance. to education – will remember the conversations with people who Being “men and women for tradition of service in their daily have diverse life experiences. We others” means being “men and lives. Recall that we can serve can begin to heal the wounds of women for people of non-Christ- even in careers not traditionally division by refusing to fear people ian faiths” who face persecution considered service-oriented. who live, look, or think differently for their beliefs. It means being I worry, though, that during a than we do. “men and women for women” period of great transition, I and In the aftermath of the election, who may face new obstacles in many others risk losing track of the Jesuit tradition of compassion, their daily lives. It means being the things that used to fulfill us, empathy, and service is more im“men and women for people of all and we run the risk of falling into portant than ever. When we recoggenders and sexualities,” who may the trap of being too busy to serve. nize that we are truly all in this face new challenges to their iden- But I am optimistic that, with con- together, we can begin to heal the tities, health, and civil liberties. scious recognition of the renewed wounds of division that have Against the backdrop of mar- need for us to commit to service plagued us openly since the last ginalization, there can be no “oth- amidst self-centered ideologies, election cycle but that have really ers.” There is no “them;” there is our Jesuit education will equip us remained insidiously present in soonly “us.” Animosity toward oth- well to meet the call in new and ciety for all of modern history. ers who voted differently than we perhaps unexpected ways. We can begin to become did will serve no purpose other That Jesuit tradition cultivates an “us.” than to further drive the wedge of leaders who should be capable of division between these once- meeting, head on, the social prob- Miranda Richard is a 2017 graduate united states. lems represented by President of Boston College. Becoming an “us.” Celebrating mass at Boston College.

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