Do we transform the world, or does it transform us? Maybe both, according to participants at this year’s human rights conference.
The University of Dayton hosted the biennial gathering, Social Practice and Human Rights: Chartering the Frontiers of Research and Advocacy, last weekend. The conference hosts many of the leaders in the Human Rights field from universities and institutions around the country for talks, dialogues and panels on a variety of topics related to a subject at the forefront of news and minds.
At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the time opening remarks were to begin, there were few people in the auditorium and no one standing at the podium. As soon as we began to wonder if we were in the wrong place, groups of people started to pour into the room, quickly filling up the seats. The rousing conversations that had grown over breakfast had been hard to end, and they continued until Natalie Hudson, director of the human rights studies program, introduced Mark Ensalaco, the opening speaker.
Ensalaco is a professor of political science and human rights as well as the first director of research at UD’s Human Rights Center.
“My job today is to set the tone for our day — focused on sustainability and its connection to human rights issue,” he said.
He talked about the slow, but consistent, growing recognition that the environment and human rights are inextricably connected, starting with the UN Declaration of Human Rights and working through landmark documents since then. Throughout the speech, he discussed the goals reached and the great things achieved, but also “the need to do so much more.”
Ensalaco left us with one important final thought to consider: “Whether in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals we will be transforming the world, or whether in order achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we must first transform the world.”
Students in the University’s Intensive English Program welcomed the campus community Sept. 30 to learn about the research projects they’ve been working on as part of an ongoing effort toward English proficiency.
“It’s a term-long project that will culminate in a final presentation at the end of the semester,” explained Cheryl Hils, IEP instructor. “This poster session is meant to help them become more comfortable speaking about a specific topic.”
The overarching theme for all of the students’ projects was Dayton attractions. Students were assigned to visit places — ranging from performing arts spaces such as the Fraze and the Schuster Center, to museums such as the Patterson Homestead and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Attendees were encouraged to engage the students by asking about the history and significance of each location.
Abdulwahab Alfaraj, a business major from Saudia Arabia, loved learning about an important historical Dayton figure and seeing antiques up close.
“It was a little difficult because English is my second language,” he said. “But I liked it because I like to know about history.”
Leo Zhangle, a finance major from China who visited the Air Force museum, enjoyed showing off the pictures he took from his visit, including World War II memorials and Boeing aircrafts.
“I enjoyed learning about the airplanes and the World War II history,” he said.
The Intensive English Program exists to help the University’s international students prepare for success in their academic careers. In order to create engagement opportunities between international and domestic students, the IEP offers multiple special events and Conversation Groups throughout the year, this poster session being one of them.
Wayne Westcott wants you to be stronger.
This year’s keynote for the Department of Health and Sport Science’s Doris Drees Distinguished Speaker Series, Westcott emphasized the importance of strength training on both body and mind.
“Muscles are important. They’re the engines of the body,” said Westcott, who teaches at Quincy College in Massachusetts. His specialty area is exercise science and strength training
2015 marked the 28th Drees speaker. The series is named after Dr. Doris Drees, a University of Dayton faculty member who served as the first female chair of the health and sport science department. A member of the University of Dayton Athletic Hall of Fame, in 1988, she was a recipient of the Lackner Award for her significant contributions to the Catholic and Marianist character at the University of Dayton.
In his Sept. 30 talk, Westcott identified strength training exercises as one way to combat the growing rates of obesity in the U.S.
“Obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes and many other health problems. Your metabolism slows down with age. Not everyone likes exercising as much as we do,” Westcott said, encouraging students and faculty within the field to motivate people to exercise.
In addition to weight loss and increased muscle, strength training also provides many other health benefits, including increasing cognitive abilities and self-esteem. When Westcott and his colleagues helped residents of a nursing home, they succeeded in helping one 90-year-old resident step out of their wheelchair.
“The residents participated in strength training and were able to increase their muscle mass,” he explained. “Because they increased their muscle mass, they were able to find the strength to walk again. This allowed many residents to return to independent living arrangements.
“Strength training; it’s for everyone,” Westcott said.
For many, the options of biking 10, 16 or 22 miles seems daunting. Not for this year’s UD Pedal Crew, comprised of nine members from the UD Women’s Center, their families and UD faculty.
On Sept. 26, UD participated in the fourth Bike for a Cause Artemis Center event at Wegerzyn Gardens to raise money to end domestic violence for the first time. The UD crew raised close to $500 of the more than $23,500 total raised for the Artemis Center.
Kathleen Scheltens, director of premedical programs at UD, chose the 16-mile trek option from the three that Bike for a Cause offers. “I started to worry at first. It was raining, and I didn’t know exactly where I was going,” she said. “But then I thought about the cause we were supporting, and it was just such a reality check.” Scheltens rejoiced when she found her way to the finish line, along with the rest of the UD Pedal Crew.
As Executive Director of the Artemis Center Judy Strnad put it, “it was truly an honor to ride among all of those working to end domestic violence.”
Program Coordinator of UD’s Women’s Center Margaret Murray said the goal through next year is to get the word out on campus and get more UD students involved in the Pedal Crew, as well as with other Women’s Center events.
“We care about women and families, and that is what this and so many of our other events are about,” she said.
The Women’s Center, located on the second floor of Alumni Hall, is also hosting an exhibit, Journey of Healing. It includes art and stories from survivors of domestic violence associated with the Artemis Center, and runs through the end of October.
This past Saturday, Cody Ethredge ’15 returned from a mile-long walk, pulled off his red high heels, peeled open a new bandage, and nursed his raw blisters. “Should’ve worn socks,” he said.
Ethredge, a law student, was one of 36 on UD’s campus who participated in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence. The UD event, held Sept. 26, was sponsored by the University of Dayton School of Law Human Rights Awareness and Advocacy group and the Solidarity Club.
Since the start of the organization in 2001, there have been thousands of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events worldwide, all with the goal of raising awareness and starting conversations in communities about the effects of men’s sexualized violence against women.
UD’s version was no different.
Together, the partnerships raised a total of $400 to benefit the Artemis Domestic Violence Center of Montgomery County and Be Free Dayton, a nonprofit that seeks to abolish human trafficking. The School of Law also hosted a Green Dot training and panel discussion about the legal rights of sexual abuse victims following the event.
“We need our men to rally and create a voice,” said Elizabeth Van Cine, cofounder of Be Free Dayton, to the participants before the march. “This is not just a women’s issue; it’s a human issue.”
Men and women sporting high heels of all colors and sizes nodded their heads in agreement; one male law student raised his sign above his head that read, “If I were to remain silent, I would be guilty of complicity,” with a bright pink illustration of a high heel at the bottom.
President Kate Bosomworth and Volunteering Coordinator Aubrey Crist of the UDSL Human Rights Awareness and Advocacy group saw the need for the event early in 2015. Ohio is one of the top 10 states for human trafficking in the entire nation, Bosomworth explained, and of all of the vice police working to stop issues of trafficking and prostitution, Dayton only has one.
“They can’t afford more because those cops are so expensive,” she said. Since a main mission of the human rights group is fighting for the legal rights of prostitutes, the event seemed to make perfect sense.
So, after hours of coordinating, grantwriting, advertising and help from the law school faculty, The Human Rights group connected with the Solidarity Club, Be Free, and the Artemis Center. Finally, after having to schedule and re-schedule last semester, they were thrilled to see their goals reach fruition this past weekend.
“We hope this event made an impact on the community, and that it will continue next year,” Bosomworth said.
After hearing conversations post-march about men’s responsibility to tackle women’s issues in the Dayton community, participants like Ethredge will remember this experience long after their calves stop burning and their blisters heal.
Thursday night in Kennedy Union Ballroom, Sister Maria Cimperman, R.S.C.J., Ph.D., gave this charge to about 45 members of our Marianist community as the Year of Consecrated Life keynote speaker, sponsored by the Dayton Vocations Animation Committee and the Year of Consecrated Life Committee. She is an associate professor of theological ethics and the director of the Center for the Study of the Consecrated Life at Catholic Theological Union. Her talk, “Hope Encounters: Consecrated Life for our Times,” focused on pushing religious charisms to new limits, revitalizing and encouraging religious communities to renew their focus on serving those in need.
Before the presentation, there was a lovely dinner and discussion at each table. Cimperman asked that we talk about Pope Francis and his visit to the United States, and what his call specifically means to each of us as members of the Marianist family. As we finished our pumpkin spice cheesecake, Sister Leanne Jablonski introduced Cimperman for the main presentation, describing her as having a great “balance of spirituality, depth of theology and ethics, and hope and joy.”
Cimperman’s speech was dedicated to discussing how religious communities can and should navigate these times filled with “shifting.” She recommended that, instead of doing what has always been done, it is time to reevaluate the reality of each religious institution’s situation. We are called to be where we are needed most, and that is where religious orders should send their members, she said. While she recognized that it can be a very difficult decision to make, especially if an order has been present in one area for so long, there is a constant need to think critically about where each charism is most needed and where God is calling them to be present.
One of the most discussed points, in the talk and in the discussions, was the idea of “delinking,” or the notion that we need to not hold too tightly onto things of this world, but to hold lightly enough that we are connected, but are able to let go and move to where God needs us each to be present.
Returning to campus is not a rare occasion for Laura Moore Carter ’99. But for two years she has returned for an annual special occasion: to instruct students and their parents in creating a Family Weekend masterpiece.
Carter owns Raise Your Brush, an instructional paint-and-sip studio with locations in Centerville, Ohio, and Troy, Ohio. She visited campus Saturday, Sept. 19 to walk students and parents (some of whom were fellow alumni) through the steps of painting the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception silhouetted against a moonlit sky.
“I have had an amazing experience coming back to UD for two years now for Family Weekend,” she said. “One thing that did not surprise me upon my return to campus was how helpful and friendly the students are. We had a gentleman who worked at McGinnis Center who was technically off the clock, but stayed to help us set up, and another group of students and parents helped to carry the heavy boxes in. And I think every single student thanked me as they left. It’s great to know that UD still has the same strong sense of community that it did when I was a student.”
Staying involved with the UD community is something that she is always making time for. Whether it’s visiting her several family members who work at UD, putting her season tickets to use at UD Arena, attending Mass at the chapel, or getting to know other grads through the Dayton Alumni Community, she is always reminded of the special bond that Flyers have with each other.
“We also try to make it to one or two out-of-town Flyer games a year,” she said. “It’s so cool to go to the pre-game alumni events and see so many proud UD alums so far away from home.”
The Hangar in Kennedy Union was buzzing with activity early Thursday morning as students, staff and interested community members alike waited patiently to watch a live stream of Pope Francis’ historic address to Congress.
Hosted by Campus Ministry’s Center for Social Concern, the watch party was one of more than 100 similar events at campuses across the nation. Fresh fruit, hot coffee and delicious donut holes courtesy of UD’s dining services and Bill’s Donut Shop greeted the crowd as people filtered into the soon-packed seating area. A live news feed from inside Congress’ chambers played on the large projector screen. Conversation filled the air in The Hangar, much of it speculating on the possible nature and substance of the address, with event organizers passing out Pope Francis bingo sheets. Potential speech topics — refugees, war, love, hope, even hot-button political topics — filled the squares.
Campus Ministry program coordinator Dom Sanfilippo formally welcomed the attendees and prefaced the Pope’s speech with information on His Holiness’ tour and on the historical precedent this address would set. Sanfilippo noted the visit mirrors the rise of John F. Kennedy and the criticism he received for his faith, comparing it to today’s widespread American admiration for Pope Francis to indicate a change in times.
Social media took a striking role in this historic event, as hashtags and live tweet walls facilitated an unprecedented level of conversation. Hashtags #pope2congress and #UDpope were encouraged as ways to join the discussion. Of the address itself, responses in the Hangar were resounding. Several moments of applause broke out in response to certain topics, specifically social justice and immigration.
Junior Maggie Schaller was pleased with his human rights considerations.
“I really appreciated his understanding of racial injustice,” she said. “I also really appreciated the mentioning of American figures, especially Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. I’ve always known that he’s been very social-justice oriented, which is in line with the choice of his name, Francis.”
Nick Cardilino, associate director of the Center for Social Concern, was proud of the event’s success.
“I think it was hugely successful. It was great to see so many students here who are interested in hearing what the Pope had to say and celebrating with their fellow students. I heard some really good discussion — that’s the point of having a watch party. It’s not just watching, but also talking about what it means for us.”
“It’s cool to be Catholic, again.”
This comment from a Catholic University of America student took me off guard today as I wandered around the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, asking students what they thought about Pope Francis and his historic visit to the U.S.
Speaking as a student who has only ever attended Catholic schools, I know exactly what was meant by this statement. I used to love Mass because I could sing as loud as I wanted to and wear my shiny patent leather shoes and frilly socks every Sunday. As I grew older and encountered others with different faiths, I would be asked questions like, “Do you really believe all that stuff?” and, “Why do you guys stand up and sit down so much?”
I didn’t know the answers to these questions, but I began to realize that my faith was deeper than church rituals. I believe that I live out my Catholic faith in my treatment of others. Instead of people feeling excluded by Catholicism, Pope Francis is showing us that we must accept each other.
When I look at my fellow college students, I see a generation of acceptance. We are seeking to end prejudices based on religion, gender, race and more. Pope Francis is calling Catholics to do this also by caring for the common good of all creation and reminding us that our Catholicism needs to be seen every day — not just on Sundays, and not just in shiny shoes — as we encounter others.
So, yes, from one college student to another, I think being Catholic is cool — because being Catholic means that we accept others and care for them as Jesus would.
Engineering alumni John “Jack” Boland ’42 and Walter Woeste ’42 can trace the start of their friendship back to a simple study session. Way back, in fact — to the fall of 1938.
The last living engineering graduates from the University’s Class of 1942, Boland and Woeste bonded while studying for their mechanical engineering exams at Boland’s house on Easton Street. The pair are celebrating their 95th birthdays this month: Boland on Sept. 17, and Woeste on Sept. 25.
“We’re still in touch, of course,” says Boland, who resides in La Crosse, Wis. “We’re family.” Woeste — who lives in Kettering, Ohio — married Boland’s older sister, Mary, in 1946, and Boland also married a Mary who he met in Arizona two years later. Woeste met his future bride while (where else?) studying at Boland’s house one afternoon.
Boland says he would not have had the same opportunities without the University of Dayton: “What UD means to me is a good education, one that I am very grateful for.” He cites Andy Weber and Tom Price as invaluable mentors and role models who advised him on both everyday matters and important career choices.
Following graduation, both men served in World War II, Boland with the Navy and Woeste in the Air Force. After returning stateside, Boland enjoyed a 40-year career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, while Woeste spent his career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Boland remembers working hard all through school. “I used to work at St. Mary’s Hall operating the switchboard as a PBX officer, at the cemetery next to Marycrest taking care of the land, and bagging groceries at Kroger on Saturdays,” he recalled.
He still visits campus — and, of course, his good friend Woeste — about once a year. During an August 2015 trip, he returned to Easton Avenue and met the UD students who now live in the house that sparked a seven-decade bond.
“It’s definitely different,” Boland says. “But it’s still home.”
He’s already planning his next visit, he says, to see one building that wasn’t quite complete during his latest tour: the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
“The Chapel has always been quite important to me,” he says. “I’m glad that UD has something that all the graduates, no matter their class year, know as the same.”
The same can be said of everlasting friendships.