Cabrini Day community connects through culture

By Angelina Miller
November 15, 2017

Cabrini Day 2017’s theme was “Connecting through Culture.” Photo by Hope Daluisio

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, Cabrini students, faculty and staff came together to celebrate a very special “Cabrini Day,” in honor of the heritage and mission of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. This year’s theme was “Connecting Through Culture,” in celebration of how Cabrini uses multiculturalism to promote learning about diverse cultures.

Mother Cabrini is the patron saint of immigrants and has always had the mission to help those in need. Photo by Wikipedia

Mother Cabrini spent many years of her life working with diverse immigrant populations.  When Cabrini first came to be, she pictured it as an institution where people of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds could thrive in academic excellence, leadership development and most importantly, social justice. This is ultimately so that by the time seniors graduate, they are completely prepared and equipped to act as engaged citizens in the real world.

This year, in honor of Mother Cabrini’s work and vision, students gathered to present research, programs and activities on multicultural heritage and how immigrants and migrants contribute to our society. Cabrini’s Dixon Center was filled with different variations of academic creativity that educated the community on how valuable immigrants and ethnics are to our nation.

One presentation that caught the eyes of many was “Get in Line,” a simulation on migrants and refugees done by Dr. Jerome Zurek’s ECG 100 course. This simulation focused on the journey that migrants and refugees undergo when traveling to the United States. Students demonstrated the overall travels of a migrant’s venture to the United States and what happens to them when they get there.

Immigrants and refugees often travel to countries like the United States to seek safety from the violence in their homes. Photo by Ilgar Jafarov
Dr Zurek’s ECG 100 freshmen class created a simulation called “Get in Line” imagining yourself as an immigrating trying to enter the United States. Photo by Hope Daluisio

By taking Engagement of the Common Good (ECG) courses, all Cabrini students receive the  skills they need to bring about meaningful change to the world. They become knowledgeable on how to identify a problem, examine its causes, consider possible solutions and put the best solution into action.

“It is not an easy journey to come to the United States,” senior digital communication and social media major Emily Janny said. Janny participated in the ECG 100 simulation “Refugees Seeking Safety” during her freshman year and is now in the midst of her second year of being the classroom coach for Zurek’s ECG 100 course.

“I enjoyed being a part of a simulation my freshman near and now helping freshmen with ‘Get in Line’ because it is a more visual way for people to learn,” Janny said. “This simulation not only gave people a brief experience of what it is like to come into our country, but also opened their eyes to the topic and how they can help.”

One Cabrini faculty member who thoroughly enjoyed the simulation and has a passion for Cabrini Day as a whole is Dr. Dawn Francis, a Cabrini graduate and current communication professor.

“Dr. Zurek’s ECG did a really awesome job at helping us understand more about the refugees, why individuals are coming into the United States and the kind of violence that they’re escaping in their home countries,” she said. “It really does elevate our understanding of what is happening outside the United States borders and what the process of coming into the United States is like.”

In addition to “Get in Line,” a presentation done on food insecurity by the Community, Arts and Education ECG course also drew many people in. Similar to Janny, Nia Alvarez’mapp, a senior writing and philosophy major and the classroom coach for this course, was very proud of the students she mentors as well.

Not only are people food insecure around the world, but there are also many people right on our campus that fall short of the nutrition they need. Photo by The White House Archives

“Our goal was to make people more aware of what food insecurity really is,” Alvarez’mapp said. “It is so important to be aware, on guard and proactive with this issue and what is going on in our campus, community and country. I hope we inspired people to understand what they can do to help.”

According to David Madway, a member of Cabrini Day’s planning committee, the participation and overall quality of the presentations lived up to the hopes of Alvarez’mapp’s.

“The quality of the work is incredible,” Madway said. “It’s amazing to see how much time the students put into the presentations, how articulate they are and how versed they are on their topics.”

As a part of the Cabrini Day planning committee, Madway has been responsible for doing tasks such as organizing the presentation venue for a total of four years now.

“It’s a very big part of Cabrini’s culture,” Madway said. “Cabrini Day was especially important this year, with the 60th anniversary of Cabrini and the 100th anniversary of the death of Mother Cabrini.”

Francis agreed with Madway about how important it is for members of the Cabrini community to attend and participate in this day.

“Students at Cabrini are at Cabrini because they embrace the social justice mission of the institution,” Francis said. “We are invested in living the mission and working always to make sure the people on the margins are invested the help that they need.”

From meeting face-to-face with genocide survivors to discussing immigration with congressional representatives, the mission of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is truly lived out in the lives of our students each and every day.

“It’s really important for students at Cabrini to come to events like Cabrini Day,” Francis said. “This allows them to show their alignment with the mission and commitment to people who are suffering injustice and desire to be a change in the world.”

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Angelina Miller

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