November 19, 2013

MISSION MATTERS: Live the Mission

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God...

— Micah 6:8

When I think back to the arduous college application and decision-making process, I distinctly remember that there was something special about Saint Louis University. At the time I couldn't quite resolve exactly what it was that set SLU apart, but after having spent a year developing meaningful relationships, while balancing challenging classes with getting involved in service and leadership opportunities, I think I might have a clue.

I truly believe that the core of what makes our university different and sets us apart is compassion — SLU students are compassionate beyond belief. It is compassion that drives us to serve. It is compassion that calls us to share in solidarity with one another, and it is compassion that forces us to consider the impact we can make with the education we receive. It is compassion that pulls us together into a community that is dynamically impactful; not only to our surrounding home city, but also to the places that we are destined for when our time here comes to an end. It is indeed compassion that pushes us to live the Mission in our daily lives, and I consider myself truly honored and blessed to a part of something so unique.

As a strong supporter of the Jesuit mission and legacy, I wish to emphasize the implications of what it means to Live the Mission — a phrase commonly heard around campus. A philosophy that I've connected with personally is the Jesuit ideal of magis. Originally rooted from the Latin phrase Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, which translates to for the greater glory of God, this philosophy challenges the individual to rise to higher standards and express love and kindness for our neighbors to a greater extent. Instead of asking ourselves "What can I do to serve others? What have I done to serve those around me?" let us instead ask, "How can I do MORE?"

Regardless of what each individual's faith identity is, the Jesuit mission is something that is relatable and applicable to every student, and translates into SLU's very own mission as well. The University mission seeks to provide students with an education that fosters our ability to think critically about issues of social justice and work towards change. It is our responsibility to apply what we learn hereafter and fulfill our shared accountability to serve as true men and women for others.

The SLU community has made huge strides in the past few years in bridging the gap between students of different backgrounds and spiritual traditions, and there is a clear endeavor to increase the acceptance and celebration of others who may be different from us. This year, I will be serving alongside eight other students on the SGA Mission and Ministry Committee. We hope to be able to continue the progress that has been made thus far, while focusing on increasing integration of the mission within various academic departments within SLU, as well as improving its emphasis and incorporation during the First-Year experience. We also hope to improve student knowledge and participation in programs sponsored by Campus Ministry, as well as the Center for Service and Community Engagement.

My experiences at SLU have challenged me to take advantage of the opportunities that lie before me, and make a difference where I can. Looking back at the whirlwind of experiences and conversations I have had thus far, I value those that pushed me outside my comfort zone, and called me to question the extent to which I was truly allowing my faith and compassion to be the guiding factor in how I lived. The Jesuit mission has helped shape my identity, encouraging passion, purpose and perseverance to institute my actions and intentions. I still have over half the journey left, but I am confident that the rest of my time here will continue to drive me toward magis — toward the greater Glory of God, toward more faithful service, toward vaster understanding, toward the greater good and toward greater love.

— Tanya Mukherji, sophomore majoring in neuroscience and theology

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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