This week SCS highlighted the work of mission integration in its weekly email to students. As we prepare to end summer and enter into the Fall semester, this is a good opportunity to provide more insight into what mission integration is and how it fits into the overall Georgetown experience. My hope is that better understanding the “how” of mission integration might encourage more students, faculty, and staff to accept mission-related invitations that they might receive along the way.
Mission integration is all about the many intentional ways that we animate Jesuit mission and heritage in the formation and development of students, faculty, and staff, especially through courses, seminars, retreats, service learning, religious services, and other forms of spiritual grounding. Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States and integrates the core Spirit of Georgetown values in an inclusive way that respects a multitude of religious traditions and spiritual experiences. Georgetown SCS mission integration is guided by four commitments or, as the Jesuits would say, ways of proceeding:
- Intentional: we think carefully about how the university’s Catholic and Jesuit identity is shared in various contexts and with differing audiences;
- Explicit: we narrate the meaning and significance of the mission in regular and visible ways;
- Inclusive: we welcome people of all faith traditions, backgrounds, and identities into our community; and
- Invitational: we discern new and creative ways to encourage members of our community to appropriate Catholic and Jesuit heritage with the potential to enrich the life of the university.
The SCS Mission in Motion blog was created to help spread the word about the many different ways that our community embodies Georgetown’s Jesuit values and puts them into practice. We have highlighted, for example, how mission comes alive in coursework, in pedagogical innovation, in retreats, in direct service for and with marginalized persons and communities, and in public events that make our mission and values visible and recognizable to outside stakeholders. These are only a few examples of how SCS community members passionately and thoughtfully incorporate mission in significant and lasting ways that serve the common good.
This next academic year presents new opportunities to creatively adapt our mission resources to meet the pressing challenges of the present moment. In the coming weeks, I will highlight more ways for our community, especially our new students, to engage our mission at a deeper level. My hope is that these challenging times might challenge and invite all of us to deepen our commitment to the university’s mission of forming persons to be “reflective lifelong learners, to be responsible and active participants in civic life and to live generously in service to others.”