Civic engagement at St. Mary’s is founded on the University’s mission, which calls us to involvement in and service to our community and society at-large. The educational aim of civic engagement is to develop and foster the virtues and skills of citizenship in a democracy. Chief among the virtues is the application of moral choice to public issues and decisions.
Chief among the skills of democratic citizenship are reflection, which leads to informed participation, and the willingness and capacity to seek the common good in public discourse and decision-making.
St. Mary’s University embraces the fundamental right and responsibility to vote, but extends beyond to other key aspects of democratic life as well. Self-reflection that leads to reasoned commitments, a willingness to listen to and consider others’ viewpoints, building community trust and habits of cooperation are necessary attributes of civic engagement.
The document Faithful Citizenship speaks eloquently to the fundamental purpose and future necessity of moral and civic engagement:
The next millennium requires a new kind of politics, focused more on moral principles than on the latest polls more on the needs of the poor and vulnerable than the contributions of the rich and powerful, more on the pursuit of the common good than the demands of special interest. . . .We must challenge all parties and every candidate to defend human life and dignity, to pursue greater justice and peace, to uphold family life, and to advance the common good.
(U.S. Catholic Bishops Administrative Board, Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a new Millennium, pp. 4-5.)
Our students and faculty are encouraged to become involved in community affairs – locally, nationally and internationally. We believe that participating in public discourse and decision processes develops leaders and leadership skills. We aspire to foster and develop a campus culture that provides courses, opportunities and programs that educate an active and responsible citizenry.
At St. Mary’s University, we are dedicated to graduating students who not only have a quality education but who are also civically engaged. That dedication is a part of not only our University mission but also a foundation of a Marianist education. Our students are involved in the community through academic courses, special projects spearheaded by faculty and staff, and student events sponsored by various programs and departments on campus.