Every April, Manhattan College traditionally celebrates Mission Month, a time during which the campus community is particularly mindful of the influence of its Lasallian heritage on its mission, a core identity rooted in the more than 340 year legacy of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of educators.
“Lasallian education should be recognized for knowing how to combine academic excellence with the social and political reality,” writes Kerri Mulqueen, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, in her 2020 AXIS article “Urban Teacher Education through a Lasallian Lens: Community Partners, Dispositions, and Answering the Call.”
Mindful that this year of the COVID-19 pandemic is like no other in our common experience, and mindful of the significance of the College’s distinctive mission to advance the common good, this year’s “Mission Month” has been extended beyond April and is taking place throughout the spring semester.
To commemorate Mission Month this year, under the overarching theme of a “Healing through Solidarity” essay contest, students have been encouraged each month of the spring semester to intentionally reflect on how faculty have applied Lasallian values to a number of contemporary injustices and the service of the common good.
Considering intergenerational vulnerability, historical oppression, psychological trauma of all sorts, and the College’s distinctive mission to advancing the common good, “our Lasallian mission compels us to directly engage with racial justice. We cannot sit idly by, but must instead lead by example in creating change on individual and institutional levels,” wrote Danielle Young, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in her 2018 AXIS article, “Exploring the Intersections: Racial Justice, our Lasallian Heritage, and the Catholic Tradition.”
This year’s semester-long commemoration of “Mission Month” with the “Healing through Solidarity” essay contest encourages students to reflect on contemporary realities of injustice and suffering and the intersection with one or more faculty descriptions of the Lasallian education mission.
In his first place essay for February’s “Healing through Solidarity” contest, Domenick Boccia ’22, a kinesiology major and Division 1 student-athlete, effectively conveyed the impact of Misty Copeland’s conversation with students on February 1. Copeland, the first African-American female Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, engaged students in dialogue as part of the Student Engagement Spring Lecture Series, co-hosted by the Black Student Union, Jasper Dancers, the Multicultural Center and Alumni Relations Office, highlighting a wide range of issues and challenges experienced by underserved communities.
In her excellent second place essay for February’s “Healing through Solidarity” contest, the review panel noted that Kari Donovan ’22, a computer engineering major, was effective in articulating how the Lasallian educational mission intentionally nourishes and supports the hard work of peace and justice, noting the significance of the dedication of the Peace Pole on on the campus on February 26 as a symbol that beckons us into action that brings about change for a better future.
Upcoming mission-focused events can be found on the College calendar.
The deadline for students to submit an essay for the March contest was Monday, April 5. More details can be found here.
For more information on Mission Month, please visit the Mission Office website or contact email@example.com.