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Service with a Purpose
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Service with a Purpose

A college is a place where idealism and action can seamlessly merge into real world experience. Against this backdrop, Notre Dame College’s campus ministry has introduced a new service group called FalconCorps.

“FalconCorps is a way for students who may not necessarily be interested in getting involved with campus ministry to gain exposure to social needs on a local, regional and global level,” says Brian Emerson, director of campus ministry. “We challenge students to recognize what these needs are, why they exist and their impact on the community.”

Sophomore Eris Dyson, who played a key role in the development of FalconCorps, echoes this sentiment, saying “When people think of campus ministry, they think only of the aspect of church. We tend to think of FalconCorps as a ministry of service and a chance for students to be humanitarians.”
 
A Notre Dame College student participating in Campus Ministry's "Alternative Spring Break" in 2006. Students in FalconCorps will have similar opportunities to serve by participating in Habitat for Humanity and the United Way of Caring. 
The group became active in January of 2006, sponsoring a limited number of service projects during a low-key opening. Beginning in the fall 2006 semester, however, FalconCorps will undertake a more ambitious slate of activities, offering more opportunities for students to get involved. These projects will include tutoring and providing meal services at local shelters. Students will also serve in the United Way Day of Caring in the fall and can participate in a Habitat for Humanity project over spring break. Dyson believes that the opportunities available will catch on with students. “There are young idealists here that don’t realize it. They haven’t had a chance to tap into their potential.”

The choice of projects for the fall semester reflects Emerson’s desire to draw on the heritage of service that is rooted in the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame and the College’s Catholic and Christian values. “We are building this program on a framework of Catholic social teaching. I want FalconCorps to help students become aware of issues such as living wages, homelessness and basic human rights. If they form personal connections to major issues such as these and recognize that all humans deserve justice, they may be motivated toward service in the future.”

Emerson believes that FalconCorps is an idea whose time has come. “A service group like this is a natural fit at the College. As an institute of higher learning, students are already being immersed in new experiences. In FalconCorps, they will get a chance to take the big ideas from the classroom and put them into action in the community. It will be more than just volunteering for the sake of volunteerism.”

Steve Ruic is the Writer and Editor at Notre Dame College.