Senior Project: The Grande Project

Studium meeting dates:
  • September 13
  • October 11
  • November 11
  • November 30
Project intensive dates:
  • January 3-19, 2022
  • January 12-14 are Grande Project break days, creating space for seniors to attend Kairos or Manresa Retreats.

The SLUH Class of 1971 proposed the inaugural Senior Project with three objectives: implement Christian ideals taught at the school, disturb a self-centered aura of its students, and enable seniors to become more aware of lives different than their own. Though Senior Project has evolved over the past 50 years, it has kept these objectives in focus and has remained a transformative part of the SLUH formational experience. The Grande Project remains faithful to the fundamental goals of Senior Project.

Given our circumstances, where our service partners are not able to offer anywhere close to the amount of spots needed for the Class of 2022 to serve in the community, seniors will adapt by completing an advocacy project.  In an era where so many people are suffering, this project challenges seniors to grow as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20) and take a step toward building up the Body of Christ (Eph 4:12), of which they are inextricably a part.

Campus Ministry developed this program in 2020, as a response to the Class of 2021's inability to do direct service of presence to the marginalized in our community in the midst of a global pandemic. Knowing the power of direct service in disturbing a self-centered aura among our students, we thought it necessary to create an alternative project that challenged them to safely engage with an outside, marginalized population in a time when so many students have been forced to isolate or withdraw. The Grande Project, named after Fr. Rutilio Grande, SJ, Martyr of the Church, is an advocacy project for seniors with the following goals:

  1. Demonstrate care and concern for a marginalized population (by researching and humanizing the issue)
  2. Listen to those living the experience, to those on the frontline, to Catholic Tradition, to their heart, to their conscience, and to their own experience (by conducting interviews, completing journals, and promoting civil discourse and respectful dialogue with those possessing opposing viewpoints) 
  3. Exercise their God-given privilege (gifts, talents, and opportunities) to give voice to the voiceless by becoming an engaged advocate in today’s world; with the ultimate goal of:
  4. Awakening seniors’ God-given ability to bring about a more loving and equitable world.

Three fundamental choices guide students through layers of scaffolding in the project:

  1. Students choose to advocate for a marginalized population from a list of ten faith-driven topics. (i.e., abortion, death penalty, ecological justice, food insecurity, homelessness, human trafficking, mental health, migration, racial justice, restorative justice)
  2. Students select an audience to direct their advocacy towards (i.e., elected officials, SLUH faculty & staff, SLUH students, one’s faith community, etc.)
  3. Students identify a medium to use for delivering their message. (i.e., art or STEM creation, website, rhetorical essay, letter to an elected official, presentation or speech, podcast, persuasive video, etc.)

After submitting their projects, students complete a final reflection and call to action on what they learned throughout the process and how it might inform their choices as they move beyond the walls of SLUH.  This classwide project fulfills an important graduation requirement for SLUH seniors.

Senior Project Coordinators: Mrs. Simonie Anzalone (sanzalone@sluh.org) and Mr. Brian Gilmore (bgilmore@sluh.org)

"Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ - for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce."

- FR. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J.

Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 1965-81