The Grande Project - CLASS OF 2021
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.
Given the current circumstances and the hesitant/non-committal responses we received from our service partners, it became abundantly clear that we needed to overhaul this year’s Senior Project. We surveyed our 64 partner agencies about serving in January, and also in May as another option, and only a couple agencies thought they could take volunteers in person. A few more offered virtual person-to-person opportunities. But when we totaled it up, that only accounted for 24 people in a class of 224. Unfortunately, May’s response was just as bleak. Many organizations are not accepting volunteers for the entire school year. Safety is another concern. For the safety of all, including the populations we serve at our typical sites, it is necessary to make a shift.
Our plan tries to remain faithful to the fundamental goals of the Senior Project. In lieu of direct service of presence in January, we are proposing an Advocacy Project that kicks off with the virtual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice from October 19-25. 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.
The discernment process for this switch was lengthy, but ultimately we believe that a senior project of some kind is essential for the senior’s formation. The virtual Ignatian Teach-In for justice offered us a wonderful jumping off point for creating a safe and meaningful project. The goals of our adapted project are for students to:
- DEMONSTRATE care and concern for a marginalized population;
- 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;
- 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:
- AWAKENING seniors’ God-given ability to BRING ABOUT a more loving and equitable world.
"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