Pinpointing the Next Steps of Action
Bursting the Bubble, Segment 5.
In my last segment I argued for three reasons why we should pop the bubble. Now it is time to get practical. We can talk all we want about “the Marquette Bubble” but that’s all anyone ever does, is talk. If we really want to “be the difference,” we need conversation to start shifting to the how. In this segment I’ll be “pin”pointing how we can create better community within the MU and MKE so that hopefully these sharp points can pop the bubble.
Living out Jesuit ideals in urban location
Georgetown, Loyola, Fordham, Saint Louis University, Xavier. What do all these schools have in common? Actually they have two things in common; like Marquette, they are all Jesuit and urban universities. Coincidence? Hardly.
Historically, Jesuits and Ignation pedagogy as a whole has put a heavy emphasis on education and service. Many Jesuit universities are located in urban areas because cities are densely populated and face many challenges that student service is ideal for. Henry Cisneros says it best in his article, “The University and the Urban Challenge,” when he says:
“The American city has become home to many of the most disadvantaged people in America. Labor force detachment, lack of education, welfare dependency, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, high infant mortality and an increase in violent crime reflect a cityscape in which upward mobility and economic independence are virtually unknown. Our Nation’s institutions of higher education are crucial to the fight to save our cities. Colleges and universities must join the effort to rebuild their communities.”
So the first way we become more united as an MU and MKE community is to remember why our university is here in the first place. Our Faith and responsibility as a Jesuit institution drives us to demonstrate Excellence through Leadership and Service in our community.
On the first day of class when the syllabus is passed out, you can look around the room and are guaranteed to see some faces cringe when the course objective reads: Service Learning REQUIRED. You figure you’re already putting in about 3 hours a week to study or do homework for that class, and now on top of that you’re expected to do another 2 hours of service?
Service Learning can be a bit of a hassle when it comes to finding locations, figuring out a schedule, finding transportation and logging hours. While the work may be a bit burdensome, according to the Service Learning pedagogy, “Service learning engages students in active, collaborative, and inquiry-based learning experiences that meet identified community needs.”
The key term there is “identified community needs.” Our professors didn't choose these sites at random just to include them in our curriculum as busy work. Often times us student are volunteering in positions that are desperately in need; in positions that should have hired staff, but don’t have the resources or funding.
So my next bit of advice for connecting MU and MKE is to become more engaged than you already are in your Service Learning. And that can mean different things for different people. Maybe for one it’s doing all the hours you say they are doing on their log #academicintegrity. For another it might be reaching out and being even more friendly at your site, or maybe continuing your service even after your term is up.
Student employment is great. I personally love making my walk past the barber shop in Straz, every two weeks when I pick up my paycheck. As I breathe in the chlorine scent wafting in from the gym, I wonder, “when will I ever remember to sign-up for direct deposit?”
Regardless of how much I love having a job on campus during the school year, I learned the most about my Milwaukee community during my internship at the Milwaukee Health Department over the summer. I found it incredibly rewarding to work with people that weren't all students.
I especially liked lunches on Fridays because I would always ask the people I worked with about what they and their families were doing over the weekend. Because of that I found out about so many festivals and events that made for a fun summer.
The pictures to the side are some events I went to with friends and coworkers.
My summer job was the first time that I considered the fact that I don’t just live at Marquette, but also Milwaukee. I really valued getting to know my city over the summer and would advise anyone else searching for a job here over the summer to try to go off campus if possible.
Bus stop and walking down the street
When I think about the neighborhood I grew up in, it would be weird for me to walk down the street and not wave to Mr. Richards mowing his lawn on a Sunday morning, or to not say “hi” when Mrs. Miller walks by with her dog, Goldie. Oftentimes I don’t think we consider our campus or the public space around us as a “neighborhood.” But why couldn't it be? And wouldn't it be a better place if it was? What could our neighborhood be like if people walking on the street said hi to each other, or talked on the buses or at the bus stops?
Here I am talking to one of my neighbors at the bus stop outside Engineering Hall.
We can’t be known as the students who only go off campus to drink on Water Street or get a paninis at the Public Market. There are so many more opportunities to get out in the community. We are capable of so much more when we integrate with those around us. Our Jesuit education calls us to be “men and women for others,” but most recently in a Marquette Community Service Newsletter we were called to also be “men and women with others.” So whether it’s engaging in your service learning, getting involved in programs like Hunger Clean Up or HALLoween, or just having a conversation at the bus stop- you can be the difference in bursting the Marquette Bubble.
Thank you for following this five part series. If you have any thoughts about the segments or any additional ideas for bursting the Marquette Bubble, I would love to hear your comments.