As a graduate of the University of Dayton, I am proud of our Marianist heritage and our mission of learn, lead, and serve. I was fortunate as a student to encounter the mission alive each day through the witness of many professors and staff. Today, I have the privilege to be a staff member and look to represent this mission to the students I encounter. At UD I am the writing center coordinator, which means I interact with some of UD’s most motivated and academically prepared students. I hire, train, and supervise over 30 students who provide peer-writing support. I believe one of my main responsibilities is to serve as a role model for these young men and women, helping them to understand what it means to be a professional after graduation. Through my leadership, I should help students to understand our mission—one of servant-leadership. Our Marianist founders provided countless examples of how to show one the love of Christ through service, and it is my hope, in little ways, I can introduce my staff to the Marianist charism.
I am writing to you not as an expert but as a learner, continuing to explore how to more richly engage our students with the charism. I hope these ideas confirm the good work you are doing or help to spawn new activities.
Invite students to join in prayer at the start of team functions. •I open training meetings with the “Prayer for Success.” I print the prayer and post it in our team gathering area. I also use the “Prayer for Students in Marianists Schools” (see below) and include it in my class syllabus when I teach.
Look for opportunities to gather as a team outside of work.
•Each Christmas season our team hosts a craft room during our campus’s Christmas celebration, Christmas On Campus. Hosting a room allows us to share in the joy of Christmas while also giving us time to simply be together.
Commemorate special days in the Catholic Church.
•We had a team meeting on September 8, so I made a simple sign and brought in cupcakes to celebrate Mary’s birthday.
•For All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, I provided prayer cards for the students. Provide additional holy reminders to help visually keep Christ at the center of work.
•Periodically, I email inspirational messages, saint biographies, and prayers as a way to encourage my team and share Gospel messages.
Educate the staff on our Marianist heritage.
•Just about every college or university has a writing center, and we all share a very similar mission, but how is writing center work different at a Marianist institution? How does our Marianist heritage influence how we work with other students? I provide a brief history on our Marianist founders, and we explore the concept of servant-leadership together.
Plan a service project.
•This fall I introduced my staff to Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy. This program provides Christmas gifts to poor children. As a team we had fun packing boxes, but as importantly, we shared the joy of participating in a service experience together.
As it is often stated, living, praying, and supporting one another in community is at the core of what it means to be Marianist. It is my goal to help my student team understand how to live out the Marianist charism in their daily lives and as future professionals. I believe we can bring the presence of Jesus to life for others through simple gestures and kind words.
Prayer for Students in Marianist Schools
God of Everlasting love, because you chose that Christ be born in every age, your son gave his mother to be our own. Taught by Him and united with thousands of students in Marianist schools throughout the world, we pray:
Mary, do for us what you did for Jesus, our brother. Guide us so we grow strong in wisdom and grace. Give us sight to see the talents God has given us and the will to develop them. Foster within us Jesus’ own vision of who we are. Instill in us the desire to learn constantly, the goodness to serve generously, and the courage to lead wherever Jesus calls.
We pray for these blessings for ourselves and for all people so that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit may be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen.
By Christina Klimo, Write Place Coordinator, University of Dayton