Ever since its founding, the Wolfington Center has continued to promote social justice throughout the Cabrini community.
Directed by Thomas Southard, the center was established back in 2002 thanks to the generosity of Half-a-Car founder and CEO J. Eustace Wolfington and his wife, Marcy Wolfington. The overall goal of the center is to promote the Justice Matters core curriculum, support Cabrini’s community engagement with social justice and link intellectual and spiritual development through community partners.
“Mother Cabrini believed that the role of a college was to ensure that students didn’t just get intellectual competence, but that they could understand their moral development and the world,” Southard said in a video interview.
According to Southard, the center has over one hundred partnerships; however, there are three partnerships that are considered the main institutional partnerships. These partnerships include the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Catholic Relief Services and the Municipality of Norristown.
Associate Director Dr. Raymond Ward has expressed great love for his job, saying that the center is the perfect way to engage outside the classroom and be a part of a university setting at the same time.
“I taught theology in Miami for five years and kept finding myself pulled out of the classroom,” Ward said. “On the one hand, drawn into more and more student engagement with clubs and on the other hand, working with community members on social justice issues in our neighborhoods.”
All students are welcome. Whether they need to get work done or just hang out, they can come to the center, which is located on the third floor of Founder’s Hall.
“Make the center a home base for you; get to know us staff members and get us to know you,” Ward said.
Junior early childhood education major Emily Hill has enjoyed coming to the center for the past two years and strongly recommends that students come to the center.
“It’s a very interactive social justice environment that’s filled with happy people,” Hill said.
Senior criminology and sociology major Cali-Ani Diaz has been working with the center since freshman year and has also enjoyed it, saying that it was like home.
“It’s like a family and very arm-opening to students coming here and hanging out,” Diaz said.
Diaz and Hill have helped the center in a variety of ways. Diaz has helped by answering calls at the desk, gathering materials for Norristown events and going to meetings to discuss events such as the ice cream socials and birthday celebrations. Hill has helped the center set up the presidential debate viewing parties, facilitate discussion during the viewing parties, answer questions at the involvement fair and interact with students at the ice cream socials.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of Mother Cabrini’s passing, the center will be hosting discussions about her work and legacy throughout the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, there will be a series of speakers coming in the spring under the title “Living Justice in the Catholic Church: The Scandal of Prejudice and the Promise of Diversity.”
The dates have not been finalized yet, but the speakers attending will include Dr. Hoffman Ospino of Boston College, Dr. Bryan Massingale of Fordham University and Dr. Julie Rubio of St. Louis University.
It’s clear that these events are going to play a big part in promoting social justice throughout Cabrini this year.
“We’re excited to support the high level of student engagement with political and justice issues already started on campus,” Ward said.