A message from Xavier Cole to all students
First, to our incoming freshmen, welcome to Marquette University! And for those of you returning, welcome back! I hope your summer was what you wished for. Whether you engaged in internships, service, and/or time with family, I trust that you are excited to be on campus and open to all that Marquette offers.
Marquette is a microcosm of the larger community. As the country experiences high levels of political polarization, division among college freshmen is also at a record high, according to a survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute (2016).
There are many explanations for this, including that college populations have become more diverse — Marquette is no exception. Of this year’s 2,236 new undergraduate students (including first-year and transfers), approximately:
23% identified as first-generation college students
31% identified their ethnicity being other than white
23% identified as coming from faith backgrounds that were Christian religions other that Catholic or from other world religions
59% attended public high schools
This diversity makes us stronger. As Naomi Tutu remarked at the 2016 National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference, “Our differences are what allow us to meet each other’s needs.”
Last year, I encouraged students to engage in civil discourse on many occasions. In light of the events that recently transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia, I ask that you read this reflection I shared recently with our campus community.
Here are some of the opportunities for continued civil exchange Marquette has to offer this year — I urge you all to be active participants so that we can answer our call to Be the Difference:
Marquette Forum: This year’s forum is centered around health disparities. As the country engages in debate over health care, know that your voice in this debate matters. Look for more information about the 2017–18 Marquette Forum soon.
Retreats: Campus Ministry offers a variety of retreats, which are open to all students. Ask the big questions, deepen your faith, and make new friends. Campus Ministry also sponsors a variety of interfaith opportunities.
Center for Intercultural Engagement: Last year the CIE sponsored more than 100 programs centered around diversity and inclusion, highlighting the intersection of race/ethnicity, social class, gender identity, faith, first-generation status, immigration status and other identities. This year’s offerings will continue to challenge us to think critically and compassionately about how we honor the dignity of each individual.
Center for Community Service: The center has many ways to engage with the Milwaukee community, including Make a Difference Day, which happens in November. The center partners with Interfaith Older Adult Programs to make sure older adults in our community can stay safe, warm and independent in their homes this winter. Registration will open in late September.
There are many other ways to engage at Marquette. Attend our athletic teams’ games and matches. The support you give student athletes helps them to succeed on the field and off. Get involved with a student organization, Recreational Sports or wellness offerings. Self-care, in fact, is crucial to your success. The Wellness Center offers a peer-to-peer Wellness Coaching program, in which trained peer educators provide one-on-one holistic wellness coaching. Interested individuals can register online.
I especially encourage graduate students to engage with the Graduate Student Organization. While your goals and aspirations are somewhat different from those of our undergraduate population, Marquette’s mission encompasses everyone.
Remember: there are diversities within us as community, but we are one Marquette.
Xavier Cole, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs