Campus Ministry Takes New Ground in Service
By Brittani Wright
With a new director and new campus minister, Campus Ministry is quickly growing into a faith-filled and service-centered department for the new generation of UST students.
Director of Campus Ministry, Nicole Labadie, comes from a history of university ministry involvement. She came to UST in 2018 as a campus minister, and has been able to gauge what is needed at UST from her past experience.
“Engaging students is a huge goal of mine,” Labadie said. “Campus ministry has planned lots of social events, hired interns for new initiatives such as social media, moved to the center of where students are located most of the time. We have been focusing on how we can engage students where they are, and a lot of times it’s on their phones. We want to share stories of faith through media platforms.”
Labadie and her team are creating an environment where service is the focus. Her goal is to give UST students an opportunity to experience social justice and to serve those in need.
UST Students Serve the Community
“We will be offering a domestic trip over spring break,” Labadie said, “and we are partnering with the School of Nursing in July for an externship in Honduras, focusing on how we love God by loving our neighbor. In addition to the week-long emergence trips, we also have weekly service opportunities.”
Labadie and her team formed a tutoring program at Cristo Rey High School led by student volunteers. Another group of students travel to Angela House, a residence hall for women in transition from incarceration to society, to cook meals and connect with the women who live there.
The fall semester began with a welcome retreat for freshmen students with the theme, “pack nothing.” The turnout was 40 students.
“The meaning behind pack nothing,” Max Linnville, campus minister, said, “is the idea to leave everything behind from high school and start with a fresh perspective. We encouraged students to unpack those things so they can become who they were meant to be.”
Media Presence and Critical Conversations
“Live by the spirit” is the hashtag for Campus Ministry on social media this year. The goal behind it is for students to be themselves through the Holy Spirt and be involved in things that move them to serve the community.
“We have a feature on our UST podcast,” Labadie said. “We also had a meeting with the producer from Radio Maria to discuss a possible talk show on the radio. We are brainstorming titles surrounded with the terms ‘young and Catholic’, where we would interview students to share the issues that they experience as a young Catholic person.”
A critical conversation series has started that focuses on various social issues and how they are viewed by the Catholic church. Conversations have covered topics such as immigration, climate change and the #metoo movement.