Monday, November 28, 2011

Justice in January- Cultivating Community Change

By: Angie Funnell 


        Based on the philosophy of the Center for Community Action and Service Learning’s Mission:Possible (M:P), CCASL is introducing a  new immersion program this upcoming January, called Justice in January. Justice In January provides a winter break immersion trip for Gonzaga University leaders and students where they can grow as individuals as they serve and give to others. Fostered in the Jesuit Philosophy of service, Justice in January strives to create awareness among student leaders of the significance of service in leadership with and for others. It is our goal that students involved will bring back to the Gonzaga campus an understanding of the lives of others far different from their own, which will draw us closer to comprehending both the possibilities and limitations of their own selves. 

       This January, three student leaders, nine participants, and staff advisor Luisa Gallagher will serve in Tacoma, Washington. The team will be living and working in the Hill-Top neighborhood. They will partner with the Guadalupe House, also known as the Tacoma Catholic Worker. While living in Jean’s House of Prayer, the team will be aiding the TCW in activities, working with homeless outreach, as well as working on a L’Arche Farm (with people with developmental disabilities). 
        Justice in January has three goals that are fostered around the Social Change Model of Leadership:         
  • That students will reflect and understand more about their personal values, beliefs and motives
  • To provide students with the opportunity of common purpose and to build collaborative relationships
  • To understand solidarity with the poor & explore how our lives can be lived on behalf of others 
(Left) Chelsea Hunt: Logistics Assistant, Nate Garberich, Lauren Mills, Connor Brenes, Luisa Gallagher: Faculty Advisor (Right)

          Service provides a powerful vehicle for developing student leadership capabilities in a collaborative environment. Under the Social Change Model, leadership is viewed as a process rather ran a position. The model emphasizes the need to understand self and others in an effort to effectively create community change. The model explicitly promotes the values of equity, social justice, self-knowledge, personal empowerment, collaborating, citizenship, and service. Under the umbrella of these values, the social change model provides students and student leaders the opportunity to examine within the levels of the individual, the group and the community/society. 
    The three student leaders are Seniors, Lauren Mills and Nate Garberich, and Junior Connor Brenes.

            Senior leader Nate Garberich said, “I like doing service because I find that it forces me to reflect on the reality of the human condition (basically we are all suffering in some way or another, and while that might sound quite negative, doing service further reminds me that humans are capable of coming together and transcending that suffering, turning it into something really powerful). I also like to serve because it humbles me and reminds me to be grateful for what I have. While service can be difficult (especially emotionally), I find that it is often super fun, giving me the chance to hear the stories of people who have had a completely different experience than I and also to hang out with peers.”

    Senior Lauren Mills as well noted, that “Service means being one with those people you serve.” Lauren said, “It doesn’t make me a better person to do these things, it just means I can learn from those around me and the opportunity that service gives me.” 


           Nate said, “In my opinion the mission of Justice in January is to bring together a group of students who hold a variety of different leadership roles to spend a week doing service and reflecting on leadership. Our hope is to structure the week around the Social Change Model, which looks at the individual, the community, and the society as a whole. We hope participants will walk away more aware of their leadership style, more confident that they can ignite social change, and better able to work with other different leaders when back on campus.”


           The Justice in January program will have the privilege to grow, learn, and initiate change in themselves and in the society that they are serving.

    The RED Ribbon

    30 years after the first cases of HIV – the red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. The red ribbon was the first ever ribbon symbol, inspiring later versions such as the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.     

    On December 1, 2011 CCASL will be celebrating World AIDS Day. An AIDS resource table will be set up between 9am and 11:30am,  in the main lobby of the Crosby Student Center. The afternoon will conclude with a presentation from noon to 1pm. 

    The World AIDS Day campaign this year is focusing their efforts on "Getting to Zero": Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. 

    Be aware and knowledgeable about HIV and AIDS. The discussion will be facilitated by a power point about AIDS service learning and service work. There will as well be a presentation from FaceAIDS abut the local AIDS community and some of their global efforts. 

    ACT UP and raise awareness and support through the facebook page or follow the streaming tweets! Get involved and learn more: For more information contact Kierra Irvin at or 509-303-6446.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Former GU Alumna recieves presitigous Award of Service at the White House

    By: Angie Funnell     

          Former Gonzaga alumna of ’06, Meagan (Brncick) Terry recently was awarded The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the White House last Wednesday. Meagan pursued a Bachelor of the Arts in Public Relations and minor in sociology, as well as participated in the Gonzaga-In-Florence program for a year. 
          Meagan began her life-long embarkment of service in her undergrad years at Gonzaga through CCASL (Center for Community Action and Service Learning). Meagan was a mentor with the Shaw Connections Mentoring Program for two years, then became the Student Coordinator of the Program. Meagan found community and fellowship with the myriad of other Gonzaga students who participated in the mentoring program. The program is fostered on creating an environment for the kids to feel amazing and loved in the several hours spent with the mentors.

         Meagan explains, “The work that we do, on a personal side is almost selfish, because its so rewarding- beyond the paycheck. To be able to see a child's life change, be the first to go on and graduate from high school and and continue towards college is amazing.” Meagan spoke of the self-sacrifice you make...“Though the hours aren’t typical, to be able to know that you are making a difference in one person’s life has a ripple effect on everyone that they encounter and influence.”

         Meagan now works with the non-profit, PlatteForum in downtown Denver, CO. PlatteForum is an artist residency organization which provides the space and nurture that artists need to create a new body of work while they are staying in town. Artists travel from all over the United States and abroad. The program is especially unique because Meagan and her team bring in youth from the streets who are denied the opportunity to the arts. The youth are encouraged to know that they can achieve in life, more than traditional environments allow them to. On the flip side, the artists are as well rewarded by the humbling experience of teaching the students how to inspire and produce creativity. 

          ArtLab, has an internship program for high school students. There are 15 students that work alongside professional local artists every Saturday, and are rewarded financially by the hour. This opportunity allows the students to enhance their critical thinking skills. They have the opportunity to write an original play/or score, to perform it, and create murals around the city. ArtLab and PlatterForum provides students the chance to express their individuality, in a nurturing encouraging and loving environment.

        PlatteForum was one of eleven programs to be awarded the National Arts and Humanities Award at the White House in Washington, DC. Meagan expressed gratitude for how Michele Obama welcomed them with open arms. The experience was humbling and life-changing, especially for the student Meagan brought along. This student had never bought a tie before, never stayed in a hotel before, and never been on a plane before. He experienced a lot of 'firsts,' but his spirit is tenacious and deserves opportunity for success.

         Meagan's advice for those entering into service is to learn from the life experiences working with people from different backgrounds... Get to know their story. Meagan is an embodiment of the Gonzaga and Jesuit, humanistic philosophy... 'to be the men and women for others"...