Julia Claire Landry
Recently our campus experienced one of its signature events: Grand Reunion weekend. The campus was overtaken by tents, tables, twinkling lights and all the other trappings that accommodate the annual homecoming feast. The excitement and abundance of this moment reveals the caliber of community created on our campus: deep and abiding affinities forged over the span of a few years, sustained over a lifetime.
Our alumni reveal the deep sense of belonging for which every college student—every person—yearns.
In working with the team of Spirituality Facilitators, I have the privilege of witnessing one of the many groups who are on the “front lines” of creating that kind of lasting community. Along with their fellow student and professional staff in the residence halls, “SFs” create opportunities for strangers who are arbitrarily assigned to the same hall to become neighbors and friends and for a large residential building to become a home.
Students discover themselves at home in the hall when the aroma of freshly baked cookies, or a home-cooked breakfast, or tea time beckons them to hospitality hours. On a deeper level, students have the opportunity to discover being “at home” with themselves as they strive to seek meaning and purpose during their time at Santa Clara.
The constellation of conversations that students have with their Spirituality Facilitators are frequent and far-ranging. There are the conversations that happen on the short walk to and from the Mission Church for Sunday evening liturgy. Conversations open up, too, during the perpetual attempts to de-stress during a seemingly unending season of midterms—over coloring pages or after yoga, a mindfulness practice or an Examen. Students wrestle with their struggle to connect, with feeling they don’t fit in. They talk about the events that are happening on campus and in the world, from the latest viral video or trending topic on social media to the happenings that are closer to home.
In the midst of all these conversations, students get to sit with some of the bigger questions: Who am I? Who am I becoming? What is my life for? Where am I headed? Where do I belong?
While Spirituality Facilitators don’t provide neat, tidy answers to any of these questions, they do keep these conversations open. They provide the gift of authentic listening, the kind of listening that makes discernment possible.
As I reflect on my decade at Santa Clara, I can see the impact these kinds of conversations have not only on our students but on the world. These conversations move people in such a way that they are sent forth to the furthest reaches of our planet to be of service. These conversations reach down to our deepest convictions and allow us to be oriented by our faith, values and vision. These conversations, and the difference they make in shaping who we become, are what bring people home to reconnect and celebrate the community we share at Santa Clara.
Nov 1, 2016
SCU offers a variety of programs and activities for students to get involved, meet new people, pursue interests, and have fun. Photo by Charles Barry