Partnering with Catholic Relief Services, St. John’s Launches Campus Ambassadors Program
Expanding its partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Campus Ministry has launched a unique program that prepares St. John’s undergraduates to more vigorously address global poverty and injustice while heightening an awareness of those issues among their peers.
The CRS Campus Ambassadors program began at St. John’s this semester as 15 undergraduates formed the program’s first cohort. On February 16, the students will gather in the Hollis Hall prayer room at the Queens campus. Catholic Relief Services officials will guide their formation and training in Catholic Social Tradition.
As ambassadors, the students will strive to cultivate an on-campus constituency on behalf of those in need around the world. They also will advocate for more just policies in the US and abroad.
“The expansion of this partnership will allow us to empower our students to become people of change, advocating for justice and dignity,” said Pam Tremblay, campus minister in residence for social justice and the program’s facilitator at St. John’s. “This complements the incredible research and education we conduct as a university on issues of service and solidarity.”
Ambassadors serve as official liaisons between their campus community and CRS. Through the program, St. John’s joins more than 40 other universities and hundreds of ambassadors to heighten awareness of poverty and systemic injustice.
Catholic Relief Services uses its own programs and resources to support campus ambassadors. The result is an advocacy-oriented education focused on social justice issues. “I’m so grateful to be part of the partnership between St. John's and CRS Ambassadors,” said Anna Misleh ’15C. “Their missions are so closely aligned—both seek to reach the immediate needs of the poor, and to create systemic change in New York City, the US, and around the world.”
Campus Ministry began discussing the program with Catholic Relief Services in early October 2013. When they completed plans for the St. John’s program in early December, students were invited to participate based on leadership demonstrated in campus justice oriented organizations such as the Catholic Scholars, Ozonam Society, Students for Global Justice, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
St. John’s also has partnered with Catholic Relief Services through the Scholars in Global Solidarity Program, which seeks solutions to challenges affecting the poor overseas. According to Sr. Margaret John Kelly, D.C., executive director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society, the relationship reflects the enduring strength of shared values: “CRS and St. John’s share a common goal with the other Catholic universities—to advance the Catholic values of global solidarity, peace and social justice through scholarship, formation, service and research.”
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