I really enjoyed the article “Embracing Differences” (Spring 2005) and feel that there should be more articles expressing the importance of community-based education at SCU. I also participated in several immersion programs, worked for SCCAP (Santa Clara Community Action Program) for two years, and was a Donovan Fellow. These experiences at SCU helped to define my educational experience. They made me realize the importance of living authentically and working towards social justice.
Thank you for this article.
David Zwaska ’04
(submitted through santaclaramagazine.com)
Caring beyond ourselves
Between my husband and me we have attended or worked at three different universities after graduating from SCU, and after our experiences there we appreciate more and more SCU’s Catholic perspective and practice.
As SCU students, we volunteered for the Eastside Project and SCCAP, and we were involved with campus ministry—both out of personal conviction and as a result of being encouraged or required to do so in our classes. Regardless of our majors, SCU never let us believe that our education, financial resources, or talents were ours to use for selfish ambition.
The good of the community, specifically those who were less fortunate, was the higher goal—emulating the Christian ideal of loving one’s neighbor. The secular universities we were involved with held their own gain as the highest goal at the expense of their students and the community around them. As we talk with prospective students, we find ourselves bringing the conversation back to that critical difference and encouraging them to consider the value of a place that teaches students to care beyond themselves and not just seek worldly achievement without responsibility to their less-fortunate neighbor.
Julie Dawson ’96 Gardnerville, Nev.
SCU’s Christian roots are intact
It was disheartening to read Jeremy McCarthy’s letter (Spring 2005) decrying the alleged loss of SCU’s Catholic character. That hasn’t been my experience as a student, an alumnus, or as a reader of this magazine. To the contrary, I find the “Santa Clara Difference” to be as strong as ever.
More than 20 years ago, as a philosophy major, I encountered a challenging and engaging course of studies that was true to the teachings of the Gospel and the Church. I used to compare notes with a friend who also majored in philosophy, but at a major secular university. We were speaking different languages: him—Heidigger, linguistics, and deconstructionism; me—Thomas Aquinas, metaphysics, and ethics. Indeed, there was a difference.
My SCU education was foundational to my career as an attorney, my pursuit of a spiritual, moral, and ethical life, and now it guides me as I study to become a hospital chaplain and counselor.
When I read about students and alumni volunteering in Russian orphanages, joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, learning medical ethics first-hand as hospital interns, and becoming public servants, I know that SCU’s Christian roots are intact.
The goal of a Jesuit education is to produce “leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion,” with a commitment to social justice and the highest moral standards. Happily, SCU is still doing just that.
John Fernandez ’81