Hi everyone! I just want to wish a big welcome back to everyone at DePaul after our six (!!!) week break. This six week break is one of the things that I love the most about DePaul because it allows students to not be worrying about finals over Thanksgiving. DePaul provides countless programs and experiences to students over breaks. These experiences allow students to go on a short-term study abroad trip or a service immersion trip.
Over my break, I had the opportunity to go on a service immersion trip to Bogotá, Colombia with eight other students. On this trip we learned about the issues of the education system, displacement, and armed conflicts. Having the opportunity to hear stories from individuals who have experienced these issues first hand was so amazing, and I am forever grateful for their determination to spread awareness of what is going on in their country. One thing that I take away from this trip is the importance of community. Wherever my group went, we were welcomed with open arms. Despite the language barrier, we were still able to make a connection through laughs and smiles. One day while we were volunteering at a school, one boy in second grade named Oscar was determined to teach me Spanish. He found it hilarious that I did not know what basic things such as ‘cement’ meant in Spanish. While he was teaching me Spanish, I also taught him some words in English as well.
Once I returned from this trip, I was lucky enough to spend time with my family and friends in the arguably best state ever, Minnesota. One thing I miss the most going to school in Chicago is nature. While I was home, my mom and I planned a day trip to Duluth, Minnesota. While we were there we hiked through the snow and saw some beautiful sites.
I hope everyone had a wonderful break, and I hope everyone has an even more wonderful winter quarter. :)
In honor of applications being open for spring break service immersion trips, I thought I should talk about the two trips I have had the opportunity to go on. During the spring break of my freshman year at DePaul, I went to Bladensburg, Maryland. During this trip, we went to D.C., as well as Baltimore in Maryland. The focus of this trip was healthcare, which we learned a lot about when we visited many different sites in D.C.. When we went to Baltimore for a day, we learned about human trafficking, which was an issue I had hardly been exposed to before. Human trafficking is rarely discussed in the media, so I was very grateful to learn so much about it.
My second service immersion trip was to Los Angeles, California during my winter break last year. The focus of this trip was homelessness, and we stayed in the heart of skid row. This experience is something I will always remember, as well as all of the people I met. The highlights of the trip for me were sitting with those who were homeless over lunch, and getting to know them. One man I was talking to said he was so proud of our group for spending our winter break this way, and said he sincerely believes our generation has the power to change the world. Another highlight of the trip for me was going to a site called Homeboy Industries
. Homeboy Industries helps many individuals who were formerly in gangs or incarcerated. Their purpose is to help these individuals find a place back in society. They do this by offering tattoo removals so it is easier for these individuals to get jobs, offering mental health services, workforce development, educational services, and more. Homeboy Industries also has a bakery as well as Homegirl Cafe, which hires individuals who have come to Homeboy Industries seeking help. Having these jobs that give them hands-on experience when many other places have turned them down due to their criminal record is a very important step in their road to success.
Both of these trips have allowed me to meet wonderful people at DePaul, as well as all over the United States. Over winter break I will be going on a service immersion trip to Bogota, Colombia and I am so excited. I cannot wait to write a blog about it. :)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Halloween is finally over and stores all across the city are preparing for the
holidays. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been listening to Christmas music
since July and you are ready to start celebrating. However, chances are you
fall among the majority who are just starting to embrace the start of the
festivities. Regardless, Chicago is getting everyone excited with all of its
yearly holiday traditions. If you’ve decided to spend November and December in
the city, here are some of my favorite things to do to get you in the Christmas
CTA Holiday Train
Anyone who lives in Chicago, is familiar with
the beloved CTA trains. Starting around the end of November, a few of the trains
will be fully decked out with holiday decorations. When I first moved to the
city, I was so happy to hear that this was something that they did. It’s so
exciting when you’re waiting for the train and the one that comes is decorated
with lights and streamers. If you want to make sure that you get the chance to
ride one, they always post the schedule on the CTA website near the end of
November- so be on the lookout for that!
You can’t talk about Christmas in Chicago
without mentioning the Christkindlmarket. This little market transforms the
Daley Plaza into a European village with booths full of different food and
drinks for you to try. With new vendors every year, there’s always more to
explore. The booths range from food to handmade ornaments and little trinkets
you can give as gifts. Depending on the day you go, there might be live music
and more entertainment so be sure to check the online calendar. I always
recommend getting the hot chocolate in the souvenir mug, it’s a staple for
every holiday season.
Ice Skating at Millennium Park
This is by far my favorite thing about Christmas
in the city. Every year around November, they put up an ice rink in front of
our beloved Cloud Gate sculpture (more commonly known as “The Bean”) and open
it up to the public. Admission is free, but if you need to rent skates that’s
an option as well. There’s a big Christmas tree in the plaza and everyone is in
a wonderful mood. If you get the opportunity to go, I would absolutely
recommend you do so.
Song of the Week: All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey :)
At the beginning of last quarter, a friend and I decided that we needed to get more involved at DePaul. We have attended various meetings for clubs, but it has been difficult finding something that we can both attend regularly due to our hectic work and school schedules. As we were browsing Orgsync, DePaul’s website listing all of its clubs and organizations, we found something called ARCH. According to the website, “ARCH is an organization that promotes awareness of homelessness and mental illness in Chicago through service and reflection.” As students who have always been involved in service in our own communities, ARCH’s mission statement appealed to both of us. As we read more about it, we found out that ARCH travels to a local women’s shelter, Deborah’s Place, every Sunday morning to cook brunch for the women staying there and engage in dialogue with them.
Ever since we discovered ARCH, we have learned a lot through this engagement. Last year I interned with a nonprofit working toward connecting homeless people in Chicago with permanent housing, so it felt right to involve myself in something along the same lines. Traveling to Deborah’s Place on Sunday mornings is the best way to start my week and is a deeply meaningful use of my time. I would encourage anyone looking for an impactful way to spend a couple hours each week to become involved in ARCH. It has allowed my friend and me to gain a lot of perspective as well as to feel as if we are positively contributing to our community.
This quarter I am participating in another service learning class called Environmental Justice and Advocacy. It’s an elective for my major, so while not everyone is required to take this class it sounded like a great opportunity to get more involved in environmental justice outside of the classroom. In the first week of class, I was placed with Rebuilding Exchange, a nonprofit focused on diverting building materials that would go to landfills and repurposing them for sustainable reuse. They also have a job training program to assist individuals who face barriers to employment (due to previous incarceration, homelessness, etc.) in gaining skills in the field of sustainable reconstruction. This organization does a multitude of amazing things for communities in Chicago, and I feel lucky to be able to intern with them this quarter! Service learning classes are truly some of my favorite. Although a lot of extra time and effort is required, the people you meet and the experience you have makes everything worth it.
Since I want to work at an environmental nonprofit in the future,
gaining experience with one as an undergraduate is one of the best
opportunities to set myself up for success. DePaul offers a variety of service-learning courses that match you up with nonprofits in Chicago, and this will be
my third time taking one. These classes are unique to DePaul and reflect the
Vincentian mission of the University, which was one of my initial reasons for
choosing this school. DePaul truly puts an emphasis on service, and being in
the city of Chicago offers so many opportunities to get involved. From service
learning classes to countless service organizations, DePaul has countless ways
for students to serve the community around them.
Due to a busier class schedule and work, this is the first year I’m spending Easter away from my family. I’m not fond of change and celebrating the holiday in a different city was something I was dreading. Fortunately, one of my lovely friends was also spending the weekend in town and asked me to go to church with him. His love for architecture and need to explore led us to the Holy Name Cathedral, right off of the Chicago stop on the red line. The church was beautifully decorated with stained glass and lots of flowers for the holiday. Our plan was to get there early so that we could find seats but we underestimated how busy the service would be. Every row was packed with families and friendly faces, we walked around the whole building before finding a spot to sit.
The mass went by quickly and even though it was a new experience, I ended up really enjoying it. Growing up, my parents raised me to be Catholic. I’ve noticed that ever since moving to Chicago, my appreciation for the religion and the beliefs they teach has increased. Although DePaul is affiliated with the Catholic church, you have to actively seek out the religious side of campus (just look for the cardboard cutout of the pope in the Student Center). This separation has allowed me to further develop my faith because it’s something I’m looking for voluntarily.
College is all about discovering new things about yourself and staying true to the values you cherish. I love using my faith as an excuse to go out into the city and find new churches with new faces. Despite spending Easter away from home, today was one of my favorite days. Tommy and I started a tradition of eating breakfast at 2:30 pm, and that’s something I hope will never change. :)
Song of the Week: A Dog’s Adventure- Atta Boy
One thing I've learned from living in Chicago over the past three years is that there is always something exciting going on, and this weekend was no different. Both here in Chicago and all across the country, women (and men) took to the streets to advocate for equality, protest various policies, and to rally for the upcoming midterm elections this November.
After a successful 2017 Women’s March one year ago, Chicago and cities across the globe prepared for even a bigger turn out this year, and they definitely got one. An estimated 300,000 people flooded the streets of Chicago to march this past Saturday. Clad with signs and flags, the event was truly a special thing to be a part of. As a first time marcher, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the day was filled with optimism, empowerment, and more specifically people advocating others to let their voice be heard through their vote.
As amazing as it was to see so many people out on the streets and advocating for change, the march in Chicago was just one of the hundreds of events that happened worldwide this past weekend. From New York to London, the march was much more than just encouraging women to vote this November.
It was a gathering ground for people to speak their mind, and march for anything and everything that they believe is important. As I marched alongside 300,000, I saw advocates showing support for women’s equality, racial minorities, LGBTQ, climate change, healthcare, and so much more. Overall the ma
rch was a day to remember, and all of those who came out this weekend will look forward to the real march to the polls that
will happen this November.
It is round one of DePaul’s triple set of finals and it is my senior year. Safe to say I am feeling fairly drained, but this blog post is dedicated to focusing on the positives of finals week. As contradictory as you might find that last statement, finals week, in my opinion, is not as bad as it seems at first glance.
Yes, you have many things to do, but you also have a lot more time to do them. The best part of finals week is NO CLASS and in my case no work either. As a writing tutor, the benefit to not missing any of your shifts during the regular quarter is having the luxury of time off during finals. All of a sudden I have found myself with this free time that I did not have all quarter and it provides a total breath of fresh air. Once I have taken that much needed deep breath, however, I must use this time wisely to spread out my workload.
You can also use this time to explore NEW STUDY SPOTS. Because you don’t have to balance class and studying like you do during midterms, you can really travel away from campus to get your work done. Try checking out local coffee shops, public libraries, or even a friend’s apartment. It’s always nice to get a change of scenery when it seems your project is never ending!
Another benefit of finals week is EMPATHY. Everyone understands when you roll up to the library at 1:00 am in a mismatched sweat suit, messy bun, and a towering stack of incomplete work. Everyone at DePaul is going through finals week together, which means everyone can complain, wear pjs, stress, and celebrate collectively when it is all over.
Speaking of celebrating, once finals week is over we get to enjoy a SIX-WEEK WINTER BREAK. Not only is our break nice and long, it also allows us to celebrate all of the holidays worry-free. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the New Year, you won’t have to stress about projects or tests hanging over your head while you are enjoying this special time with your friends and family.
So hang in there, DePaul. You can do it, especially if you try your best to stay positive!
Q: What’s the quarter system like?
A: The quarter system is fast, but I love it! It gives you a chance to take way more classes and if you don’t like a class very much, it is over in just ten weeks. But it can be difficult because midterms and finals definitely sneak up on you. As long as you are organized and proactive in completing your reading and assignments, you will do great!
Q: How do you stay on top of your academics?
A: Break up large assignments into smaller tasks, so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed. Force yourself to write drafts of essays before they are actually due. Ex. Midterm Paper is due in two weeks, but MY first draft is due in one week. Reward yourself! Ex. If I finish this chapter, I will watch a 20-minute show on Netflix (but don’t forget to return to your work!!)
Q: What are professors like? How are they different from teachers in high school?
A: Professors, in my experience, are always eager to help! But they won’t necessarily check in with you as often as high school teachers might. I recommend looking at the syllabus to see if they have listed specific office hours, so you can meet with them individually. Be proactive and seek help and professors will respect that you are trying to succeed.
Q: What happens if you are absent?
A: If you are sick and cannot make it to class, email your teacher. It is best to stay in good communication to show that you care and want to be on top of your schoolwork. Additionally, try and get a doctor’s note. You should bring your doctor’s note to Dean of Students so that you can get an excused absence.
Q: How do you meet people?
A: You can meet people in so many different ways: get involved with a club, go to DePaul sponsored events (DePaul Activities Board has tons of many events), try out group fitness classes at the Ray Meyer Center, attend DePaul sporting events, talk to people in your classes, hangout in the common areas of your dorm, eat at the Student Center, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
Q: What’s the best part about DePaul?
A: The best part about DePaul is being in the middle of the best city in the United States! There is always something fun to do and with your Ventra pass included in the price of tuition, there’s no excuse not to explore the city.
It was my second day of freshman year. Classes had not yet begun and I ventured out of my dorm alone to attend Sunday Night Student Mass at St. Vincent DePaul Parish . I remember sitting in the pew by myself for the first time. I had always gone to church with my parents, but now it was time for me to independently live out my faith as an adult.
After mass ended, a student announced that any freshmen interested in attending a first-year student retreat should meet at the back of the church. I had attended a few retreats in high school and enjoyed them, so I decided to stay. And boy am I glad that I did! There was a small group of students gathered to learn more information and I introduced myself to one of the girls standing there.
“I’m Olivia,” I said nervously. “No way, I’m Olivia too!” she smiled. I laughed and I asked her if she was going to go on the retreat. She nodded and so we both signed up. We continued to talk as we walked out of church together, finding out that we both wanted to be high school English teachers too. A few weeks later we were reunited on the retreat and became inseparable ever since!
Flash-forward to today and we are still best friends. We lived together for two years (sophomore year in Centennial Hall and junior year in Sheffield Square ) and have more similarities than we can count. But we also have our differences and we use these to challenge each other to become even better people. The only thing better than being friends with Olivia is being able to introduce ourselves as “Olivia and Olivia” wherever we go because we are almost always together.
It’s crazy to think that I would have never met Olivia if I didn’t put myself out there in attending mass alone that second day of freshman year. Sometimes you want to do things that others you know may not want to do and in doing that you can meet new people that you have something (or in my case, almost everything) in common with. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things, alone or otherwise!
When I was a senior in high school, my head was spinning with the thought of all of the colleges I could apply to and potentially attend. It seemed as if the opportunities were endless, which caused me to feel extremely overwhelmed and unsure of which choices to make. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to attend school in a city filled with opportunity and potential for growth. I wanted to be in a place where I could do a million different things and not feel as if I was limited in any way. For me, that ended up being Chicago due to its location (six hours from home) as well as my love for the city and all that it has to offer.
Once I knew I wanted to go to school in Chicago, the next step was to decide which school was right for me. My situation was a little bit different than your average applicant because I applied before I even visited DePaul due to being an out-of-state student. By spending a lot of time on DePaul’s website, I gained some insight that led me to realize how important service is to the DePaul community. As secretary of my high school service club and an extremely active volunteer in my community, I knew service was something I wanted to continue to be a part of in my college career. DePaul’s emphasis on service was a large factor in my decision to apply as well as one of the reasons I was drawn to DePaul in particular over other Chicago schools.
Once I applied to DePaul, the decision to attend school here was fairly easy. It’s cliché to say that once I stepped on campus it felt like home, but it did. DePaul is unique because it does not feel like you are constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. When you are on campus in Lincoln Park it feels like a college campus, and when you are downtown in the Loop it feels like you are right in the middle of Chicago. You could go from a class in 14 E. Jackson to an internship with any of Chicago’s Fortune 500 companies within ten minutes. On the other hand, you could also go from a class in Lincoln Park to relaxing on North Ave. Beach within about twenty minutes. At DePaul, you really do have the best of both worlds, and this is another significant reason that I was drawn to this school in the first place.
Good luck to all of you seniors who are in the application process! I know you’ll find the right school for you, and hopefully, that means being a blue demon for the next four years here at DePaul.
It's crazy to think it's college application season already, isn't it? I cannot believe that I applied to DePaul four years ago! So much has changed, but my love for DePaul has not.
Both my mom and my oldest sister graduated from DePaul, but that does not mean that it was the school that I always thought I would be attending. To be honest, I originally imagined myself at a school much further from my hometown of La Grange, IL. However, health complications that came up during my high school career made that choice a bit unrealistic, so I applied to a few universities much closer to home: Loyola, Marquette, Michigan State, Indiana, and of course DePaul.
After that visit, I started thinking more and more about DePaul. I knew that I wanted to major in Secondary English Education and DePaul would be the perfect link to Chicago Public Schools, giving me a much more diverse experience than my own high school gave me. That is the beauty of attending a city school—you are surrounded by amazing, worldly opportunities rather than being isolated in a small college town. There is absolutely never a dull moment! Whether you are interested in art, music, sports, comedy, or food, there is something for you to do each and every day with the U-Pass at your fingertips.
After my first quarter at DePaul, I knew I made the right decision. Not only was I living in one of the best cities in the world, but I was also surrounded by people who wanted to make a difference. If you don’t already know, DePaul is a Vincentian community that prides itself on its commitment to service and social justice by asking the question: “What Must Be Done? ” This was not something that swayed me in my decision to apply because I was not fully aware of its meaning, but it certainly made me feel a lot more fulfilled when I arrived and embraced the mission of the University.
So, what must be done? Your application to DePaul University of course! You’ll never know if you don’t apply!
The entire college application process is definitely a stressful experience that brings with it a mix of different emotions. Despite the highs and lows that accompany this time in your academic career, the best piece of advice I can give to any high school senior is to forget all the doubts you have and simply apply to any and all schools that interest you.
When I was searching for colleges and universities I was easily overwhelmed with things like acceptance rates and test scores, so much so it led me to not apply to schools that I was interested in. I’ve realized that the college admission process is so much more than what your grade point average is or how well you did on one test. Instead of calculating the chances you have of getting into your dream school, skip the doubt and apply to as many schools as you can.
A major reason why I applied to DePaul was because I knew they had an incredible Public Relations/Advertising program. However, I also had to think about the possibility that I would change my major or career path sometime throughout college. DePaul offers so many different areas of study that I knew I could find something I loved even if I did end up going in a completely different direction.
Often times at DePaul you hear people saying “the city is our classroom” and the phrase could not be more true. It’s one thing to learn out of a textbook, but it’s an entirely different experience getting to test your knowledge out in the real world. The fact that DePaul is situated in one of the best cities in the world is another reason that led me to apply. Chicago offers thousands of jobs and internships across the city, and DePaul is the best resource to help students land their dream position.
I also loved the fact that DePaul is a university founded on Vincentian values, so much so that the school was named after St. Vincent de Paul himself. I was thrilled that DePaul could offer me an amazing college education, but it’s the things DePaul offers outside education that truly led me to apply here. From community service organizations to student government, Greek life, professional development and recreational sports, there is literally something for everyone here at DePaul.
DePaul has been a dream school for myself and thousands of other students across the globe. Good luck to all high school seniors with the college application process, and I encourage each of you to apply to be a blue demon!
It’s that time of year again! Time to retire your swimsuits and beach towels and trade them in for a backpack full of textbooks. Back to school time always bring with it varying emotions. Some are anxious and excited to begin a new school year, while others refuse to believe summer is coming to an end. No matter what kind of student you are, DePaul’s extensive list of back to school events will definitely have something for you. From barbeques on the quad to study abroad and involvement fairs, here’s some of the best of DePaul’s back to school events.
Vincentians in Action: Whether you’re new to DePaul or are a seasoned upperclassmen, you undoubtedly know about the Vincentian values our university prides itself upon. Our namesake, St. Vincent de Paul, and his fellow Vincentians aimed to build a better community through service. The Vincentians in Action group is a community of students on campus who aim to do the same. As part of the welcome back events, the organization is holding an open house for any and all students interested in learning about the various opportunities available to serve our surrounding community.
Involvement Fair: The involvement fair is often dubbed an event that is solely for freshman students. Despite its rep, the fair is great for any student who wants to get involved around campus. With groups from all different walks of life, anyone can find an organization that interests them. Joining an on campus group is a great way to meet new people and get involved around DePaul.
Vinny Fest 2017: Vinny Fest is an annual gathering of DePaul students and faculty held on the Lincoln Park quad. The festival is a celebration in honor of St. Vincent de Paul’s Feast Day. During the celebration, there will be games, raffle prizes, Vinny trivia and plenty of snacks for all. This is a fun and laid back event that gives students the opportunity to hang out with fellow classmates and show some DePaul spirit.
Study Abroad Fair: No matter where you are in you DePaul career, it’s never too early (or too late) to think about studying abroad. The Study Abroad Fair is a great way for students to learn about the over 70 study abroad options DePaul offers. From long to short-term programs, DePaul offers study abroad experiences all over the globe. The fair will feature many study abroad alums, so you can learn from students who have first-hand experience studying through DePaul’s program. As a study abroad alum, I definitely recommend this event!
If you are a DePaul student, then you have for sure heard of DemonTHON
. For those who don’t know, DemonTHON is DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon that benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital
of Chicago. Participants raise money throughout the year through fundraising, canning, and donations. Then whole thing culminates in the dance marathon. That’s 24 hours of standing, dancing, and cheering for the sweet little kiddos who aren’t able to stand or dance because of illness. This year’s dance marathon is from 5pm on April 28 to 5pm on April 29 – which, if you are counting correctly, is in TWO WEEKS.
I participated in DemonTHON last year, and it was an incredible experience. My legs and feet have never been as sore as they were during that 24 hours, but it was so worth it after seeing how much money we raised for the kids. Last year, the organization hit the one million dollar mark that had been raised and donated to Lurie’s hospital. It was awesome to be a part of, and I am similarly excited for this year.
The 24 hours are split up into six different theme hour chunks. Some of the theme hours this year are Harry Potter
, Nightmare on Sheffield, and Battle of the Decades. These theme hours provide games and activities which make the time pass quickly. We also get to learn the Morale Dance, a ten minute long dance that is performed every hour of the marathon. Throughout the event, we hear from and meet families who have directly benefited from the money raised for DemonTHON. It is so inspirational to hear the strength and hope that these kids and their families have in the midst of scary illnesses. It is a jam-packed, fun-filled, emotional 24 hours that I am really looking forward to participating in again!
If you are a DePaul student and have not signed up yet, now is your chance! Join a team, raise your $250 fundraising goal, and dance for the kids!
As the clock ticks onward and my time as a Blue Demon undergrad comes to a close, I realize I am experiencing some of the last moments with many of the organizations and clubs I have been a part of throughout my time here at DePaul.
Yes, I will stay in touch with my friends, peers, mentors, etc. but life moves on. Some of us will be attending master’s programs at other universities and others will be pursuing careers in Chicago or elsewhere.
This past spring break was my last service immersion trip with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (O.M.S.S.). This year we went to Washington D.C. and worked with a Wider Circle
. I was one of two seniors on the trip. Along with our service, we also became immersed in the communities that we were in. Visiting various museums, attractions, speaking events, and more, often times comparing and contrasting these experiences with Chicago and the broader global context.
As a senior, it was nice to see the underclassmen enjoy themselves as I did during my first service immersion trip. It was a bittersweet week as every moment was impactful and all my peers were awesome. Yet, I know this may be one of the final times I enjoy an experience such as this. With that being said, as I frequently do, I made a video of my time in Washington D.C. Check it out and enjoy!
D.C. is a beautiful city.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
Vincentian Service Day (VSD) is DePaul’s annual day of service where hundreds of students go out in the community to carry out the Vincentian mission.
Each year athletes, scholars, staff, faculty, and more meet in the McGrath arena on a Saturday morning to get hyped for the day. This year the focus of our service was centered on homelessness. Several students shared their experience followed by an address from President Father Dennis Holtschneider
It is an event that is inspiring, fun, and reflects what DePaul is all about. I participated with the Office of Multicultural Student Success
(OMSS) and led our group along with my friend and fellow scholar Katie. We went to the Hermitage Community Garden
in Englewood and helped pull weeds, lay mulch, and prep soil for planting.
After our service was done, our group reflected on what we had done and how our time was spent. VSD concluded with a cookout that is usually in the Quad but because of weather was in the Student Center. There was hot dogs, music, games, and throwback pictures previous VSD events. It was time well spent!
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
Do you enjoy doing community service? Do you want to make an impact on Chicago? Are you a DePaul student? Are you free on May 7th? If you can answer yes to all of the above, then Vincentian Service Day
sounds like something you need to sign up for!
Taken from DePaul’s website, “Vincentian Service Day (VSD) is an annual tradition at DePaul. Started in 1998 as a part of DePaul's Centennial celebration, we are now in our 18th year. On the first Saturday in May, over 1400 DePaul students, staff, faculty and alumni will participate in a day of service with 100+ Community partners in the Chicagoland area and cities around the country.”
I participated in VSD last spring and it was one of the highlights of my sophomore year. I volunteered with the Pathways Program
and our location was the Irving Park YMCA
. We spent the morning and afternoon painting the hallways of the dormitories and then headed back to DePaul for a huge picnic and cookout on the Quad. It was so much fun! It was a great way to bond with my classmates and friends and the staff at the YMCA were so grateful and appreciative of what we were doing. I truly felt like I was making a difference, which is what VSD is all about: making a positive impact in the community around us.
This year, I am participating with Cru DePaul and we are volunteering with World Vision
, a Christian humanitarian organization helping children and families in need international and local by supporting and strengthening various organization and churches. I am very excited for May 7, and to give my day to help someone else’s. Join with me and sign up for Vincentian Service Day! I can guarantee you will experience something positive from it.
A few weeks ago it was Blue Demon Week
at DePaul! As a part of the many celebrations that took place Enrollment, Marketing and Management put out a new series of videos. Below you'll see a link to the headlining video. "DePaul: Urban Educated. World Ready
" is one of my favorite videos DePaul has ever put out (my #1 will forever be the Premiere DePaul Video
the Orientation Leaders that I supervised stared in). In two minutes and twenty-three seconds the video hits home about what DePaul stands for and what it means to be a DePaul student.
“DePaul isn't trying to be like every other university in
America, we want to be DePaul.”
Bold, but true. When you accept admission to DePaul you should be excited to know that your college experience won’t be like your friends’ who are attending other universities. As a student at DePaul you get to live in America’s third largest city. This means that you don’t have to wait until your senior year to have an internship. There are enough companies in the city for you to start interning as a first year student! When you’re sitting in class it won’t be with 500 strangers. At DePaul all but one of my classes has had between 20 and 40 students. We only have two large lecture halls in Lincoln Park that hold at maximum 100 students each. At DePaul our educational experience is personal and extends far beyond the classroom.
“The fact that St. Vincent de Paul’s name is over our door
gives us a sense of mission that we need to make a difference.”
After taking an entire course on St. Vincent DePaul I could share quite the list of fast facts. From at best an average priest to canonized saint, Vincent de Paul had quite the journey in his lifetime. More than 350 years after his death, Vincent de Paul’s Congregation of the Mission thrives on though the hearts and souls of Vincentians around the world. As a DePaul student you’re able to see hands on how the missions of justice and human dignity is fulfilled by asking and answering the question, “What must be done?”
Open my blog to watch the video below:
“Kill ‘em with kindness.” Something I hear quite often. I’m not sure how to feel about it.
On one hand you have a positive and kind act being the response of a negative one, but on the other hand is it a genuine kindness or is it just a different method of revenge?
This is what I like to call, an “either or” type of situation. This means that there really isn’t a right answer it simply depends on what you believe. I like to think that the killing with kindness method, regardless of intent, is a good one. If you try to fight fire with fire, well, you’re going to get a bigger fire. However, if you fight fire with water, that changes the game.
There was an interesting activity I took part in on a retreat once in high school. On the floor laid several candles all of which were lit. The speaker began talking about the significance of everyone and their purpose in life. As she progressed in her speech, she began blowing a few candles out. She continued this until there was just one candle left. At this moment, the speaker told us that we are all lights in this world. The last candle was blown and we sat in darkness. With our hearts beating, our minds thinking, and our senses feeling (my words not hers) we make this world the place it is. The speaker continued her speech and began lighting the candles one by one until the whole room was once again bright.
One light may not seem like a lot, especially when it is surrounded by darkness but together, we shine bright and make the world warmer. This, I believe, is the key. As St. Vincent himself believed oh so many years ago, we must learn to coexist, accept, and love one another because together we are bright and warm and the darkness stands no chance.
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome.
Happy New Year, Readers!
Though I had every intention to write some new blogs over
the last seven weeks, I’ve been busier than ever with the end of student
teaching, clinics and getting home for the holidays. As we are quickly diving into a new year, I figured
now would be a great time to give you a few updates about what I’ve been up to
DePaul’s fall quarter concluded right before
Thanksgiving, however I continued student teaching for another three weeks once I
returned from spending the holiday in Maine. I think I’ve mentioned this
before, but I was required to student teach for 16 weeks – 4 full months – to
obtain a k-12 teaching license, for which I had to give up about half of my
winter break. While most of my friends were catching up on sleep, work and
their social lives, I continued to get up at 5am and drag myself to school
every day. It was definitely a struggle
to stay motivated, but I did it! In the final week I conducted my first concert
ever and was sad to say goodbye to the students I’d make connections with
during my time in both teaching placements.
Before heading home again for the remainder of my winter
break, I had the opportunity to experience two really neat things in the city.
The first was a concert held by DePaul called Christmas at DePaul - It is so
awesome! It’s a collaborative concert between the DePaul Music School, Theatre School and the St. Vincent de Paul church on campus. The university hires
current students and alumni from the music school to perform in a giant
orchestra with a chorus of over 200 members. Christmas at DePaul really gets me
in the spirit of the holidays with several Christmas carols and a reminder of
the real importance of the holiday, and I’m so glad I’ve been able to attend
the last couple years. Due to the concert’s growing popularity, tickets are
free and distributed through a lottery. I’ve been very fortunate to have a
friend in the orchestra who has been able to give me complimentary tickets, but
you can bet I’d have put my name in the lottery if I had to!
I also had the opportunity to attend the Midwest International Band Clinic before leaving the city. This clinic brings in
hundreds of world-famous clinicians and performers to hold master classes for
anyone interested in teaching band. They also have a huge exhibit hall where
you can try instruments, talk with various band-supporting companies and
purchase all kinds of books and equipment. The Midwest Clinic is one of the
highlights of my year and I’ll share more about it with you later.
My winter break has come to an end, but I’m grateful for the
time I had with my family and friends back in my hometown. I’m feeling
refreshed and renewed – and aside from feeling glad to be done student
teaching, I’m feeling ready for more knowledge and more experiences. Even
though I’m nearly done with my time at DePaul, the gift of becoming hungry for
knowledge and my desire to be the best teacher I can possibly be are things
that will stick with me forever – and for that I will always be grateful to
DePaul and my professors.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season – I’m looking
forward to sharing more of my DePaul experiences with you in 2016!
The Vincentian mission is stressed from day one at DePaul. Giving back and continuing a mission of service are both very big characteristics that define the DePaul community. Unfortunately, I am such a busy bee that I find it difficult to go on mission trips or volunteering excursions during the school year. Thankfully, the DePaul students and faculty make it easy to be a part of charitable efforts by organizing on-campus events.
The one event that I really loved so far this school year was conveniently held in the Student Center.
In collaboration with RefugeeOne, the Arabic Language and Culture Club, and Students Organize for Syria at DePaul University, DePaul was hosting a winter clothing drive to collect warm clothes for new refugee families! They collected clothing items for weeks!
Collection Box locations:
- Lincoln Park Student Center - Under the stairs on the west side of the building
- Loop campus on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center
What we are asking for:
- Winter coats
- Gloves, hats, scarves, mittens
Through this event I became curious about what RefugeeOne is and how the work their organization does effect the city I live in. Every year, RefugeeOne assists approximately 2,500 refugees and immigrants of all ages, ethnic groups, faiths and backgrounds to find housing, learn the English language, acclimate to American culture, develop computer and job readiness skills, secure employment, obtain medical care, apply for citizenship, and develop overall family strengthening skills.
I feel honored to be a part of a student body that takes time to give back. With RefugeeOne guiding the way we create opportunity for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution to build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance.
One of the best things about DePaul is the mass amount of speakers and established socialites that come and discuss their ambitions and lives with the students. Most of the time you do not have to RSVP to events but if the flyer asks for than it is a must! Most of the events I’ve attended were in the Student Center conference room or Cortelyou Commons
. Both of these facilities can hold many many people, and the events I’ve seen stem from a gender quality activist to a student run amateur drag show.
One of my goals for this quarter as well as upcoming school year is to attend more DePaul events. The most recent one I have seen was on a whim, but I’m more than glad that I attended. I had the honor of being in the presence of Sister Helen Prejean
. Although at first I did not recognize this name, once I looked deeper into who she was it hit me that she is a very influential person in the subject of the death penalty. She wrote Dead Man Walking which was turned into the award winning film featuring Sean Penn. Although this topic was pretty heavy for a sunny weekday afternoon, I knew that this was a prime opportunity to learn more about a subject that I am not well-versed in.
Before Sister went on stage there was an exhibition. The room was filled with hand written letters from the Stateville Correctional Center. This series of letters was called “Why My Life Matters”. Most of the letters were background information about the convicted person, and appeals to bring back the parole board. Many of the letters were very well written and extremely thorough. This in particular gave me a huge reality check because the letters were written a month ago behind bars while I stand and read them sipping on a latte with the freedom to walk right out of there if I wanted too. On the floor of the room was scotch tape outlining the actual length and width of a prison cell. Just another tid-bit of information that further makes me realize the conditions prisoners live in.
Sister Helen Prejean spoke for less than an hour, but she was extremely adamant about cultivating conversation about the topic with us, instead of just talking AT us. She had a panel discussion and invited people from the audience to come up to the microphone and answer questions. After a question had been asked she didn’t straight out answer it, but rather asked other members of the audience what they thought. I thought this tactic was warm and inviting and made everyone comfortable with talking about such a dark topic.
After the session as over, I felt like I knew more about the morality of punishment and the United States’ justice system. Sister Prejean has not only inspired the film industry, but also inspired conversation and change in the way people view the death sentence.
More events can be listed at the site here.
Afterwards I bought a copy of her book and had it signed! Talk about an evening well spent.
Choosing what college to attend wasn’t an easy decision for me. I knew that I wanted to go to school in Chicago, but I was conflicted between schools here. I had visited the two that I was interested in, but didn’t necessarily know which was going to be better for me and which would better prepare me for the future.
So, I chose DePaul based on these considerations:
- Location in Chicago and proximity to downtown
- Smaller size of the science program compared to other Chicago schools
My story doesn’t stop here because these reasons only scratch the surface of why I’ve enjoyed my four years here at DePaul.
Here are the major reasons why I’ve had an incredible experience at DePaul:
- Small size of science program
: Because the science program
is relatively small, there’s more of an opportunity to get close with professors and get involved in undergraduate research.
- Location in Chicago: The proximity of DePaul to downtown Chicago, specifically the major business districts and many hospitals, means that you have the more opportunities to get experience outside of classes.
- Relationships with professors and staff (feeling much more like an individual and not a number): This is one of my favorite aspects of DePaul. It’s clear just how much professor’s care about their students and how hard they will work to help students succeed. While they have high expectations for students, they make sure you have support and the resources you need to make the most of your experience at DePaul.
- Vincentian mission
: I didn't know anything about the Vincentian mission
before coming to DePaul, but it's been an important aspect of my college career. The mission has provided a larger purpose for my education here and guidance to how I see myself contributing to society in the future.
“Vincentian Service Day 2015 coming up!” Stated one of the emails in my never-ending inbox on Gmail. The message contained information on the day the event would occur and what was needed in order to register.
As usual, I plan on attending Vincentian Service Day
with one of the various groups I am committed to here at DePaul. It’s really nice to be a part of so many organizations because when events such as these come up I can either participate in it with my scholarship group, my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry
) group, or my DAB (DePaul Activities Board
) group, etc. Nonetheless I am super excited to contribute once again to the amazing service the DePaul University offers.
I remember when I was senior in high school thinking about all the different things I had learned and accomplished. One of those things I was proud about was joining a club called Mission Awareness, a club dedicated to doing service activities in school and throughout the Chicago area. One of the thoughts I had as I applied to different colleges and universities was, “Am I going to continue this service?” DePaul was perfect for me because it took so many different things
that I learned in high school, such as service, and not only continued them but expanded on them. This will be my second year participating in Vincentian Service Day and I still remember my experience from last year as if it was yesterday. We helped with a community garden on the Southside of Chicago. The lady that overlooked the garden did it all on her own because city budget cuts allowed enough funding for one worker. Any sort of assistance she was able to get was all from volunteers. When the day ended, she was so grateful for our help that she gave us candy!
I am looking forward to Vincentian Service Day 2015 and I am looking forward to helping someone who may need it.
This year spring break brought many new memories, friends, and experiences my way as I traveled once again with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) to New Orleans, Louisiana for my spring break service immersion trip. The weather was beautiful, the food was spicy and delicious, and the people were amazing. We teamed up with the St. Bernard Project, SBP for short, to help repair houses that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Many people reacted in similar ways when I told them that I would be heading to NOLA
for service. They asked questions like “They still need help?” or “That was ten years ago what else needs to be done?” While staying in the lower 9thward, I saw many houses that had little to no progress since the tragic storm, houses that have been ignored and forgotten about. During drives to our service site I saw open land that I did not think much about. It wasn’t until Rachel, the director of SBP, told us that houses used to occupy the land and instead of being rebuilt they were bulldozed.
The experience was one that will always be with me and make me think about life, people, stories, etc. I will never forget just how different every neighborhood
felt, as if they were different states. When thinking of Chicago, I know that every neighborhood
has its own feel but I can still identify the areas as Chicago. Yet in
NOLA, the lower 9th ward was a neighborhood of progress, one that is rebuilding slowly but surely, the French Quarter provided an atmosphere unlike anything I have experienced in America, and downtown gave a similar feel to our loop with shops, people, and angry drivers.
NOLA has a special place in my heart now and the St. Bernard Project is something I stress for people to look into in order to provide some help and support for the New Orleans community.
If you are interested in helping out check out this link
Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!
Fresh off WLC (Winter Leadership Conference), I told my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry) small men’s group that I was enlightened. We meet on Monday’s and this past Monday, as many of you probably already know, was the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some schools had days off, others used this day to remember and share the ways of Doctor Martin Luther King, and for me I had my small group. It was interesting, as usual, but the discussion became centered around leadership which corresponds to the weekend retreat I attended. We talked about Jesus and his teachings and drifted into discussion about Doctor King.
One thing I noted about the discussion was the peaceful approach to very difficult and conflicting topics. Things such as prostitution or racism usually get people very heated in debate, and in unfortunate circumstances violence. This past weekend at WLC, we discussed the 5 dimensions of an SRL (Socially Responsible Leader). Which are as follows:
- Self-Understanding and Personal Integrity
- Taking Seriously the Perspectives of Others
- Contributing to a Larger Community
- Knowledge and intellectual Competence
- Striving for Excellence
I want to focus on number two, “Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others.” The way I interpret this dimension is that everyone has his or her own way of thinking. We all have values, morals, and opinions that do not always, in fact quite frequently, agree.
So this specific dimension, I feel, is easier said than done for two reasons:
One, anything you have ever been taught in life has to be put on hold and you need to listen to the person speaking. You need to think about their position and their life to understand where they are coming from.
Two, you have to go against your natural instinct of sticking to what you know. We have to become uncomfortable and delve into the life of another individual in order to truly understand them and take their perspective seriously. I believe that the great teachings of Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. are exactly what we should use as models for our life. They push humanity to be more. Everyone has his or her opinion, and everyone will fight for what they believe is right. It is a higher understanding that allows us to relate to one another. To say, “we are different and that is not something that should separate us, but rather something that should bring us together in order to learn more and become more as people.”
That is all for today, thank you for reading my blog, if anyone has heard of WLC and is on the fence about attending I highly recommend that you do. For more information visit the SLI (Student Leadership Institute).
SHOUT OUT to my big hearted roommates, Carly and Kat, for being a part of the student run organization SOUL. Speaking Out as Unified Leaders (SOUL) is a volunteer operation that provides the south side youth at Langford Academy a positive outlet through art and writing. SOUL provides the 6th-8th grade students the opportunity to explore various forms of expression and are encouraged to use these expressions in their community to create positive change.
Although you have the option to be a member OR a mentor, participants in SOUL are highly encouraged to be a mentor and work hands on with the kids instead of just showing up to the weekly meeting.
SOUL is a prime example of DePaul’s Vincentian values. Through creative writing and public speaking, the youth will learn about themselves, the community, and how they fit into their community. SOUL’s core goal is to give the marginalized youth a safe place to express themselves and help them reach their full potential.
The mentors in SOUL go to Langford every Friday to work with the marginalized youth. They use a creative arts based curriculum paired with critical thinking to help prepare the students for high school and beyond. Topics discussed include food deserts, gang violence, racism, and events going on in the community.
One of the main reasons I chose DePaul is because of the importance they put on doing service work. These values and opportunities create a passionate and heartfelt community. What are you doing for change?
As a senior, it’s increasingly on my mind that I will be moving on after the next two quarters. A lot of conversations with friends (and family members) these days are about what's next. There’s not much of a unifying theme to this entry. I wanted to talk about how my experience at DePaul is getting me ready for the next step, and this is what I’ve ended up with.
I’m incredibly grateful for my time at DePaul. Going to college in Chicago has changed who I am. I’ve been exposed to the realities of people in the world that I may not have if I wasn't at DePaul. Of course there are things that I wish I did differently, but I’ll save that for another time. Overall, DePaul has made me think differently about how I will contribute to this world. Not only have I drank the DePaul Kool-Aid, but I’ve purchased a pair of DePaul lenses (this is supposed to be symbolic).
My mind has been exploding with interests and thoughts lately. Over break I became interested in learning about computer programming. I know that in the future world we will live in, if not this one already, it will be necessary for everyone to understand programming. My kids will be learning coding at the same time they’re learning basic math and (hopefully) Spanish. I’m also increasingly interested in statistics and data analysis. I do lots of data analysis as a chemistry major, but I’m especially interested more about data analysis outside of a scientific context. I want to be more literate as a data consumer, more aware and critical of the information I take in. Over break I took a religion class taught by a historian, and I realized just how little I know about US history and world history, for that matter. The world changed a lot since I was born, but I feel like I missed out on the significance of those changes because I wasn’t thinking broadly enough. I started listening to PlanetMoney (from NPR) podcasts religiously, and I realized that I wish I knew more about economics.
So, how does this relate to DePaul? My curiosity to learn is symbolic of my time at DePaul. There’s no way that I could have spent time exploring all of these things in college. That’s the point though, right? We’re in college to become more prepared for continued learning. I would like to think that because of my experience at DePaul I’m prepared to continue my learning journey. Even more, DePaul has shaped the lenses through which I will take in new information and experiences. The Vincentian mission at DePaul constantly comes up in my head when I listen to an economics talk. There seems to be a contradiction between the growth that economics calls for and the human dignity that may be exploited in that growth. My experiences at DePaul have caused those thoughts, and I couldn’t be more thankful because I know that those reminders will continue to help shape the decisions that I make.
Chris Lamprecht, a senior studying community psychology, has participated in service since high school, but this year, he was able to find to a project that combined his desire to make a difference with an opportunity to gain skills for his future career as a community psychologist.
“I was looking to get more involved with the community, as well as to do something related to community psychology values and research,” said Chris.
Chris is working with DePaul’s Center for Community Research where he gathers and analyzes data on students who attend Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The goal is to identify stressors CPS students face that can lead to violence. Ultimately, the research will be used to support a program that helps these students find positive ways to manage stress.
“It’s service, but its practical experience too in terms of me getting to participate in research. I’m still out there in the community helping to find a way for students to cope with stress, but this is great internship experience for me too.”
While participating in service shaped Chris’ education, it wasn’t a deciding factor in his choice to attend DePaul.
“Choosing DePaul, I was very attracted to the campus, the city of Chicago—a lot of self-interested reasons, but it ended up being the best choice. Service has changed my outlook on life, the way I look at my friends, family and politics. It has opened my eyes to tolerance and acceptance. Being able to connect with other people has been one of the most profound experiences I’ve had.”
Molly McVay grew up understanding she would go to college. Most of her family members and neighbors were college graduates. “All along the way, we talked about how my grades and the activities I did would come into play in college. At the time, I did not even realize that was such an advantage,” she says.
Now she and other student members of DePaul Volunteers Supporting Youth (part of the DePaul Community Service Association) are returning the favor. Every Friday afternoon they join about 60 elementary-school children at Hope Junior, an after-school program at the Marillac Social Center in East Garfield Park. The activities are simple—helping with homework, playing Capture the Flag. The goal is greater—to get the kids imaging college in their future.
“We’ll start talking about their dreams. Do they want to be a doctor, a policeman, a teacher?” she says. “To get those jobs, they need to go to college. To go to college, they need to get good grades. And that’s why studying for that spelling test matters.”
After three years volunteering, Molly is excited about the sense of community and connections that have developed between the DePaul students and the children they work with. With great affection, she talks about a boy who wasn’t interested in working with any of the DePaul volunteers until he connected with her. “He’d tell everyone he had no homework until he saw me, and then out would pop the math and the English and the science,” she says. “Now, he’s excited to work with everyone. He’s really become more open and involved.”
Molly signed up for the program because she thought it would be a good complement to her academic studies. She is double-majoring in sociology and American studies with a concentration in racial and ethnic integration and plans to become a social worker or lawyer specializing in urban youth. She’s gotten the insights she was hoping for, plus some she wasn’t expecting.
“It’s so much fun to walk in and see that the kids are excited to have us there!” she says. “To outsiders it might appear that I am helping them but often they are the ones providing me with the wisdom!”
There’s something about fleece blankets that makes you smile.
Freshman student-athletes from all 13 of DePaul’s NCAA teams discovered that in September when they gathered to make 600 blankets
for low-income children. It was one of the many service activities the Blue Demons do throughout the school year. Most of the student-athletes had never made a blanket before. Some had never done service before. They all loved it.
“It was more than team bonding,” says women’s basketball
player Elri Liebenberg. “It’s that warm feeling in your heart that you know you did something that’s going to keep someone else warm during the winter. It was very fun.”
But the big fun began when the student-athletes hand-delivered the blankets to kids in the St. Vincent de Paul Center. The Blue Demons helped with crafts, played “Duck Duck Goose” in the gym, and clambered around on the playground with the delighted children.
“It was awesome just looking at their faces. They were so happy for all of us to work with them. Even if it was just gluing leaves on their sheet of paper, you could tell, it made their day,” says soccer player Lauren Frasca.
It can be difficult for college student-athletes to find the time to volunteer. DePaul Athletics works hard to create service opportunities that fit into players’ schedules, allowing them to connect with the community in ways beyond athletics. That’s one of the reasons softball player Angela Scalzitti committed to DePaul.
“That’s something that’s so great about this university. Service is a central part of the DePaul experience,” Angela says. “It’s part of how I’m growing as a person, not just as a player.”
Jessica Ramser is a leader. The junior’s involvement in service has provided leadership opportunities that have shaped her experience at DePaul.
“I started doing service through DePaul’s service immersion program and went on a first-year trip to St. Louis. From there, I was recommended to be a service immersion trip leader. I became a leader the spring of my freshman year,” said Jessica, a political science major.
After her service immersion trip, she joined the DePaul Community Service Association (DCSA) and became the site coordinator for DePals, a program that works with adults and students who have developmental disabilities.
“We mentor the students we work with, but we also offer friendship. It’s something I look forward to every week. We know about each other family’s lives. We build relationships,” said Jessica. As a coordinator, Jessica also communicates with the site, recruits volunteers, schedules visits and helps plan activities.
But Jessica’s role with DCSA expands beyond the DePals program: She’s also a member of the senior team. With approximately 25 service sites and two coordinators per site, the senior team ensures that resources are appropriately allocated and any issues that arise are quickly handled.
“Between planning events, setting up sites and securing transportation, we’re here to make sure everything runs smoothly throughout the year,” said Jessica, “My leadership skills have developed and strengthened through all of these opportunities.”
But she’s not just gaining leadership experience and skills that will serve her well beyond her time at DePaul, she’s also had the opportunity to explore Chicago and think beyond the boundaries of campus and classroom.
“I’m not just going to school to get a job for myself and make money. I am part of something. We have a great city at our fingertips to learn and be involved. Service has challenged my views and given me a new perspective.”
With finals now here and winter break right around
the corner, I think that every DePaul student can appreciate the value of a
home-cooked meal. Lucky for me, I was able to attend a free pre-Thanksgiving Day
feast in our Student Center this past Sunday. It was quite delicious and
definitely got me in the mood for Turkey Day.
Turkey Fest, as it was appropriately called, occurred through DePaul Catholic Campus Ministry, or UMIN for short. This free event was courtesy of SAF-B funding (Student Activity Fee). Although I’m not Catholic, UMIN always puts on fabulous events that are available for anyone to attend regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack thereof.
I was a little apprehensive about attending a Catholic
University after I enrolled at DePaul. Having a pretty much nonexistent
religious upbringing, I wasn’t sure how “Catholic” the University would really
Events like the UMIN hosted Turkey Fest are a perfect example
of how the University handles its religious affiliation. While there are
certainly ways to get involved in Catholicism on campus, it’s also possible to
go through your four years here with no interaction with Catholicism at all.
Despite Turkey Fest being a UMIN event, there was really no Catholic element to
the dinner besides a small prayer before we started eating.
DePaul pushes for Vincentian values, rather than
Catholicism. Guaranteed you will hear the word "Vincentian" countless times while
at DePaul. What this basically means is that DePaul places an emphasis on
cultural, social, and ethical values in service to others. While everyone has
their own reason for doing service, DePaul encourages everyone to be a socially
DePaul also provides many opportunities to get involved in
service. From service trips abroad to the vast service sites DePaul partners
with, it’s easy to give back.
Whatever you’re up to this Thanksgiving, I hope it’s filled
with some good ol’ turkey and lots of stuffing! And don’t forget the pumpkin
pie : )
Hello everyone and welcome again to my blog.
Today I will be sharing my experiences at CCM, Catholic Campus Ministry. CCM is full of awesome people, food, and events. I heard about CCM my first year at DePaul but I never joined anything until this year.
I went to the kick off mass earlier this year and was greeted by a bunch of members. Everyone had a smile on their face and was super friendly, I have never felt more welcomed. Father Memo Campuzano was energetic and awesome during mass. After the kick off mass, I was called by Piotr another member of CCM who invited me to join a small group on Wednesdays. The group has grown from a few guys to around ten now.
I would highly recommend anyone looking to join a club or organization to check out CCM. The “headquarters”, as I like to call it, is in the student center just across from the chapel. If for some reason you can't find it, just follow the smell of food that is not coming from the second floor. CCM has been awesome to me so far and I look forward to meeting more people and continuing my adventures with them as the year progresses.
That's all for today, as always stay classy and stay awesome.
Before coming to DePaul, I attended a public high school; therefore, I had no religion classes at my school. Being the Catholic school that DePaul is, I knew I was going to have to take religion classes, which I was a bit nervous about. I soon noticed that the religion classes that DePaul offers are not your typical religion classes. Like many of DePaul's classes, they tend to focus on current issues rather than just looking at the past.
When looking for a religion class, the one class that most caught my eye was a class called "Contemporary Moral Ethics: A Marxist Pope?". It not only caught my interest because it was about Pope Francis, who is an incredible person, but also because it was about economic systems and how they are affecting our current world.
Our professor is Father/Dr. Benson. With seven degrees, I think he is qualified to teach anything he wants. If I could describe him in one word it would be cultured. He has been around the world and has learned everything there is to know about religion, science and ethics.
The class is designed to be about half lecture and half discussion. It is based on a comment made on Rush Limbaugh's radio station when he accused Pope Francis of being a Marxist. In the class, we have studied Pope Francis by reading Evangelii Gaudium, which is a book he wrote about his preachings. We are now reading Capitalism and Christianity, American Style, which talks about how Christianity and the American economy are intermingled. These books really complement the class well and I would recommend both to anyone interested in the topic.
There are a few things I know I will take from this class:
1) Pope Francis is awesome. He is someone I definitely do and will
continue to look up to and appreciate.
2) Economics is not just graphs and numbers: it is cultures and ideas meshed together with the government and the environment.
3) With every decision you make, be sure to critically evaluate and ensure that it is right not only for yourself, but for your friends, community, and family.
This past weekend I participated in an event called Vincentian Service Day. This event is an annual service day put on by DePaul University, where thousands of DePaul students, faculty members, and administrators go out into the community and do service to honor the legacy of our namesake, St. Vincent de Paul. For those of you who don’t know already, St. Vincent de Paul was noted for his dedication to serving the poor and strengthening the community around him. That legacy is part of the Vincentian values on which our university is founded.
I did this event last year and had a great time helping clean up the garden for the retirement home that is situated next door to The Theatre School building. However, this year we had a new site. We were at the Mission of Our Lady of Angels and Saints in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Humboldt Park is southwest of the Loop and it is a pretty rough area. We spent most of the day helping to clean up the community center and church of the mission. What was most inspiring about working there was the dedication of the priests and nuns that live there. They were a wonderfully cheery bunch that greatly appreciated our help and were utterly devoted to all of the community members that came through the mission throughout the day. Since I was raised Catholic, I have some familiarity with the community of the Catholic Church and this one sticks out in my mind. Despite the fact that my thoughts about religion have shifted over the last several years, the thing that will always stick with me about being a part of the church community is the truly selfless people that you will often find there. Those are the people that volunteer on a regular basis out of the goodness of their hearts to make their community a better place and spread goodwill to their fellow man. It inspired me to make sure that I incorporate more service into my life regularly because it makes me feel exponentially more human and gives me direction whenever I feel lost.
Vincentian Service Day is a great opportunity to remind you how important it is to serve your fellow man and just how badly some people right here in our community need our help. If you want to find out more about St. Vincent de
Paul’s mission to help the impoverished, check out this link
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
This week has to be Glen Hansard. As of late, I’ve been trying to find ways to inspire myself artistically and Mr. Hansard never fails to do that for me. His ferocity and passion with his craft are astounding and I defy you not to feel something stir deep down in your gut when you hear him bust this number out.
It seems as if when many people look at DePaul, they think religious. Sure, we are the largest Catholic university in the United States and yes, being Vincentian is one of our core pillars, but hearing these words should not steer away any student from DePaul. There is more to religion than going to church and that idea is embraced at DePaul.
First of all, the Vincentian order was founded along the ideals of St. Vincent DePaul. Vinny dedicated himself to the poor in France, teaching them, feeding them, and telling them about Catholicism.
Tying this to DePaul, the university was founded to allow the marginalized in Lincoln Park, which used to be a very poor neighborhood, to get a quality education. Even today, education is a top priority of the university. That is why professors, not TA's, teach almost every class at DePaul.
DePaul also embraces the idea of doing community service and understanding what is happening in our local community. Many of our classes are geared toward understanding realities of society. There is also a plethora of volunteer opportunities and service trips that you can go on through DePaul.
You should not look at DePaul's religious identity as a negative aspect. The effects are extremely positive for every DePaul student. This creates a positive, effective environment for any college student to learn.
I had the pleasure of spending my spring break with nine fantastic people in Philadelphia, PA.
After going on two service immersion trips through University Ministry I decided that it was time to take on the challenge of being the student leader for a trip. I applied last Winter and had a class last Spring in preparation. This winter quarter before the trip I also had class once a week to prepare for the trip.
The service immersion trips are organized by the Vincentian Community Service Office of University Ministry. The hope of the trips is not to necessarily provide services that would otherwise be unmet if we didn't go somewhere, but instead to hear stories from the people we meet and learn about the issues in that community. We are on the trips to learn about our relatioinship with the poor and the marginalized and to examine how we live our daily lives back at home or at school. The most important aspects of hte trip include awareness, simplicity, dialogue, and solidarity.
After a 14 hour car ride to Philadelphia we arrived in Germantown, a neighborhood about 10 minutes outside of downtown Philly. Each day we woke up around 7:30am and left the house by about 9am. We would work at one or two service sites and then get back around 5pm. Most nights we had some other type of activity planned, such as a visit to a Jesuit Volunteer Corps house in Philadelphia as well as a potluck dinner with members of the local dioceses. Reflection is an important part of the trips and each night we would talk about the things we saw, experienced, and felt and what that means for us.
I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend the week with. Here are some pictures to give you a glimpse of our trip.
You are given a week of freedom. What are you to do during that week? This is a list of five options I would recommend to you.1. Go on a Service Trip
DePaul offers many service immersion trips that you can do over Spring Break. I have gone on two of them and they have been awesome trips that I would recommend to anyone.
2. Go home and visit your family
It is great to spend a week at home with you family and friends. Spring Break is a break so you should take a load off and do something that will give you the chance to relax and enjoy yourself.3. Go spend a week at one of your friends schools
Not all schools have the same Spring Break as DePaul does. If you do have some friends at different colleges, it is a good opportunity to go visit them. There you can hang out with them, maybe sneak in to one of their classes as well as check out a different university.4. Stay in Chicago
Sometimes a staycation is all you need to relax. If you stay at DePaul, you can relax, maybe get some spring cleaning done and rejuvenate yourself for Spring Quarter.5. Vacation
SPRING BREAK!!! If you are a person that wants to go to Florida, Cancun, anywhere that has been in a Spring Break movie, go do it. Whether it be on land or on a cruise, make your Spring Break your Spring Break.