• Student Life
Seniors Advocate for the Marginalized

Last week students of the Class of 2022 completed and presented their Grande Projects to faculty panels.

The project is named after St. Rutilio Grande, SJ.

As a response to the inability to directly serve marginalized populations due to the pandemic, Campus Ministry created the Grande Project, which challenges seniors to step outside of themselves, develop a deeper understanding of a societal issue through firsthand interviews and learn how to advocate for those suffering. Students select a medium to deliver their message, such as a video or a letter to a government official. Afterward, seniors reflect on their experiences.

"The most important thing I learned was that sometimes sharing a story is profoundly more impactful than compiling statistics," Gavin Lawhorn '22 says.

Learning directly from marginalized individuals or people who work with the disenfranchised enriches the classroom experience of learning about inequities.

Daniel Phillips '22 points to his interviews as one of the most enlightening components of his Grande Project, "I got a lot of inside information on homeless service agencies, the housing placement selection process and the role of government," Phillips says. He credits his interviewees for helping him to grasp the bigger picture and gain a deeper understanding of the issue of homelessness.

For many, their Grande Projects not only deepened an understanding, but it also challenged their preconceived notions. "I learned that addiction is not a reflection one's morality," Luke Johnston '22 said. "Mental health diseases, specifically addiction, are in fact diseases that require serious medical and social care."

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.

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