Service crew

St. Thomas Recognized Among Universities Worldwide for Service-Learning – Newsroom

St. Thomas was one of two Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada to receive the Uniservitate Award in recognition of service-learning projects.

“This award really shows how we are advancing the common good. To have this level of organization putting us in the spotlight is amazing,” said Theresa Ricke-Kiely, executive director of the Center for the Common Good. “It was peer-reviewed, and it was quite humbling to have experts from around the world confirming that we do awesome work and some of the best service-learning in Catholic higher education.”

Uniservitate Award judges recognized St. Thomas’ collaboration with Catholic charities in St. Paul and Minneapolis to meet societal needs through research, volunteer projects and community involvement . This academic and extracurricular partnership involves many St. Thomas faculty and staff. For example, courses taught by theology professor Bernard Brady, sociology professor Patricia Maddox, and Dougherty Family College clinical professor Jennifer Trost introduce students to the topics of housing justice and housing insecurity. while showing them what they can do to stand up for social justice.

Students can volunteer through Shelter Crew, a program launched last year that coordinates community engagement opportunities between St. Thomas students and Catholic charities or Habitat for Humanity to benefit communities. homeless.

“Creating pathways out of poverty and dismantling systems of racism is complicated. There are serious structural problems in the Twin Cities, so we teach students not only the problems and symptoms of inequality in our community, but also what they can do to be part of the solution,” Ricke-Kiely said. . “Volunteering is part of it, as is philanthropy and advocacy. When we engage in our community and gain a better understanding of the issues people face, we build stronger communities and become inspired to take action. Our St. Thomas students are helping to create a more just and equitable society.

As one of 14 winners of the Uniservitate award, St. Thomas received €5,000 ($5,070), which Ricke-Kiely says will go towards transporting students for community engagement activities.

Last school year, even amid the pandemic, the Center for the Common Good saw a significant increase in student and community engagement. More than 5,000 St. Thomas students collaborated with 300 community partners. Students have contributed about 101,000 hours to the community, worth $3.3 million, according to the Independent Sector, which is a coalition of nonprofits, foundations and community giving programs. ‘company.

“It was really a team effort,” Ricke-Kiely said. “The Center for the Common Good team of staff and faculty conceptualized and implemented these programs to contribute to social change and justice by advancing the common good.”

Two hundred Catholic higher education institutions submitted nominations for the Uniservitate Prize. As one of the winners, representatives of St. Thomas will be able to participate in the III Uniservitate World Symposium, which will take place in Rome from October 26 to 30. This meeting will bring together the winners of the seven regions that make up the global network of universities in the Uniservitate programme.