March 25, 2014

MISSION MATTERS: Mission: A SLU Experience

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When I began to reflect on the Mission of the University, I knew it had a great impact on my education and my experience here at Saint Louis University, but I didn't know exactly how much it influenced me as a person. I believe it is the undercurrent of the University, the unspoken element that drew me to SLU three years ago when I was trying so hard to define what I liked about this university.

The pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God ...

I see this aspect of the Mission in each of my classes. We, as SLU students, are challenged to ask the hard questions. In my classes, I am challenged to not only learn theories or memorize facts for a test, but I am asked to apply that information to real-world events. I am challenged to look outside of the classroom and engage with the greater community. When I work to improve an organization's communication or learn how public policy affects housing or health care around the United States, I know that I am learning about a deeper issue that can help improve the world. Through pushing myself to look deeper and to do my best in all of my academics, I am bringing glory to God.

... for the service of humanity.

I am proud to say that SLU is one of the top ranked universities for dedication to service. I have participated in Make a Difference Day for three years and have loved the communities I connect to that day. However, I know that at SLU, we are dedicated to more than just accumulating service hours, we are looking for further meaning.

Through my experience with the servant leadership program, iLEAD, I learned that the basic element of being a servant leader is to be one with the people you are serving. If you wish to make an impact on the world, you must first understand it. Through the iLEAD course, I was challenged to become a better listener and to work to understand others. It was this training that helped me see that if we use these same skills as we hear others' concerns and connect to those we lead or serve, we are living the Mission of the University. That is why each time I approach a new project or a new service opportunity I try to understand the needs of others so I can learn from them and help them grow.

This is how I see the Mission lived in my experience at SLU. In my classmates I see a passion for learning and the desire to transform that learning into action that will change our world. In our service, I see that the skills of servant leadership programs create humble leaders who create genuine, lasting connections to those we serve. I see the Mission of the University as the quiet hum of campus as we all work to make an impact on the world.

- Kathryn Lundgren, College of Arts and Sciences

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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