It is still bewildering for me to comprehend that it has only been 22 days since I wrote, “My Message to White Students at FBU.” I vividly remember the night I wrote that blog around two in the morning. My roommate was fast asleep and I was trying not to wake her up with my loud typing. I corrected it and reread the blog over and over again. I even debated deleting the whole document altogether, fearing judgement. I was worried that the friendships and relationships I had built with faculty, staff, and students would be tarnished due to the content of the blog. I feared that students would perceive me in a negative light in and out of the classroom. I submitted my blog post that night and went to sleep feeling drained from all of my overthinking.
The next couple days were kind of hectic upon people reading the blog. Students that I didn’t know were approaching me around campus and discussed their thoughts with me. I had Facebook conversations with friends from around the country about it. I attended meetings with my wonderful mentor and dedicated faculty members about the blog. My mom and I had numerous conversations over the phone and what she thought about it. Working with Leslie Doyle and Janelle Julian, we three decided it would be beneficial to host a Forum on Inclusion, discussing some of the points I brought up.
The Forum on Inclusion that I led took place on March 15th. I was in shock to see that a little less than fifty faculty, staff, and students gathered in the very cramped LACE Center in a large circle. While we didn’t solve and address every issue at Fontbonne, we at least started a conversation. Some students disagreed with my points, but that was the intent of writing the blog. I wanted to get a larger conversation going on campus about these issues. Whether we agree or disagree, we are civilly engaging in these, at times, uncomfortable topics. I want to thank everyone who came to the forum with an open mind and willingness to learn from one another. I will close with a quote from the latest edition of Tableaux. “Remember that the dear neighbor may be the person who holds a perspective radically different than your own.”-President Pressimone.
Stay on the lookout for a second Forum on Inclusion coming your way very soon. This ongoing conversation isn’t over yet.
Let me first tell you what the mission statement is for this amazing university, as it has recently changed and is more concise now.
“Fontbonne University, a Catholic institution sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is committed to the common good through the daily pursuit of transformative education, inspiring students to become global citizens who think critically, act ethically and serve responsibly.”
For me personally this is a statement that truly identifies our university and what the CSJ’s stand for as well as what they represent in this community. As someone who has been involved in many service projects throughout the last three years at Fontbonne I know what it’s like to serve the dear neighbor without distinction and to treat others as if they are apart of the common good. I truly enjoy being there for others when I can whether it’s those in my campus community or those in the greater St. Louis community. As a university Fontbonne really tries to instill in the focus on academic excellence and for the students to do their very best in the classroom and to not be afraid to as professors questions. Once I was able to get on that one-on-one level with teachers and really get to know them, then I felt they were inspiring me to demonstrate my best self. Based on some of the things I have learned in class and things I have been involved in across campus I feel that professors truly are there to teach us how to fly into the world as educated global citizens.
As someone who grew up learning about the Catholic faith, I am proud to attend a Catholic institution and follow in the footsteps of the CSJ’s. I am so thankful that I continued to stay involved in campus ministry throughout my time at this university, as it helped me to bond with others and grow in my faith. Through ministry related events, I have had the opportunity to meet multiple of the sisters in my time here at Fontbonne and they all have interesting stories to tell about what it is like being a sister. I am so proud to be able to say I am a Fontbonne student who practices my faith and am a part of a university sponsored by the Sister’s of St. Joseph of Carondolet.
Thanks for reading this weeks post.
I know the “We Are Griffin Nation” movement kicked off a little while ago, but honestly, it slipped by me because of all the homework and studying surrounding midterms. I just got a chance to check out some of the wonderful statements other Fontbonne students have come up with. It’s clear that “Griffin Nation” is full of young adults who want to make a difference! I loved the variety of responses, from future occupations and achieving goals to finding out who you are and what matters to you. This campus that so many of us call home is dedicated to educating, inspiring, equipping, and encouraging tomorrow’s leaders. I know this gets said a lot, but it’s really true: you (and your education) matter at Fontbonne.
It was really hard for me to choose just one option and a few sentences about what Fontbonne means. I finally settled for “Fontbonne inspires me to…” It inspires me to learn more and be more, obviously. But what exactly does that mean? For me, it means that I am changing in a good way. Even in the past two months, I know I have been transforming. I’ve grown to be more confident. I can think critically, prioritize my time, and make wise decisions. Each day I gain a greater awareness of the world around me — and that’s not just St. Louis, Missouri, or even the United States. I’ve learned to have an opinion that matters, but also respect others who have different views. My professors, fellow students, and the whole campus atmosphere inspires me to be the best I can be not only in academics, but in life in general. How can I contribute to the common good?!
It’s been a really interesting first semester. It’s been both similar and different from what I expected (not unusual, haha!), but ultimately I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I cannot wait for the years to come and look back fondly on the great memories I’m already making. I’m sure the changes that I’ve undergone already are nothing compared to how I will emerge in four years — prepared for the next step in my career, ready to influence the world, and inspired to never stop learning more and being more.
Hopefully you guys have seen Fontbonne’s twitter and multiple social media posts by me and my co-host DeMarcus about our now-official podcast, Fontbonne After Dark!
It has been such an exciting journey so far and we’re so eager to really get into what Fontbonne has to offer and what students, faculty, and staff what to hear. We posted our first episode last Thursday night and you can go listen to it here!: https://soundcloud.com/user-655012980/fontbonne-after-dark-ep01-leadership
Our structure is pretty loose, but we try to stick to roughly this: start with an intro of sorts that includes a catch up of what’s happened since the last episode, discuss a topic that relates to school or current events, then we dive into upcoming Fontbonne events for the week. I hope to start promoting some events outside of Fontbonne, so that people can know what’s going on in lovely St. Louis!
Our main goal is to make the podcast interactive. We want to take YOUR suggestions and talk about things that would be beneficial to you. As seniors, it’s very cool to have this outlet to give advice, talk about what’s happening on campus, and hopefully bring the community closer together.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you! If you want to request anything for the podcast email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!