VILLANOVA, Pa. – Since 2005, Villanova University and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have worked together to advance global solidarity through education, research, advocacy and service. On April 14, representatives from Villanova and CRS came together to celebrate this 10-year anniversary and solidify the future of the partnership.
The celebration began with mass at 12:05 p.m. in Corr Chapel on the University’s main campus. At 1 p.m. in the Radnor and St. Davids Rooms in the Connelly Center, Villanova University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD and Joan Rosenhauer, CRS Executive Vice President for U.S. Operations, re-signed the official Memorandum of Understanding between Villanova and CRS, demonstrating the continuation of the partnership. The ceremony was followed by a light lunch.
“This partnership has enabled the Villanova community to see the Church at its very best, working in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people to relieve suffering, to promote integral human development, and to further justice and peace,” said Suzanne Toton, EdD, Coordinator, University Partnership with Catholic Relief Services, and an associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. “The partnership builds on the strong foundation of the University’s Office of Mission and Ministry and extends it by generating opportunities for the university community to contribute to and collaborate with CRS through education, research, advocacy and service.”
The accomplishments of the 10-year-long Villanova/CRS partnership are many. In 2006, the Villanova CRS Ambassadors program was implemented. The student Ambassadors educate and offer opportunities to the university community to express solidarity with poor and marginalized communities through promoting fair trade, campus-wide participation and major advocacy initiatives. Each fall faculty and staff workshops are held for Campus Ministry and CRS staff to share resources and identify areas of collaboration. In 2013 and 2014 Careers in International Development Days were held to interest students in the field of humanitarian relief and development. University symposia have brought faculty across disciplines and CRS staff together to educate the Villanova community on various humanitarian issues. In addition, since the formation of the partnership, 12 CRS internships have been awarded to undergraduate students.
Following the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, students from the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences worked collaboratively with CRS Haiti to develop and run a workshop for CRS' Haitian Engineers to better manage the country's infrastructure and water supply systems. Because of the project's success, an exciting longer-term relationship is being developed between Villanova and CRS Madagascar.
For more information on the CRS partnership, please click here.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.