The Becoming Community Initiative, funded through a $600,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, aimed to create transformative inclusion among faculty, staff, monastics, students, alumni, and community partners at the College of Saint Benedict (CSB) and Saint John’s University (SJU). The original PI of the grant was former CSB President Mary Dana Hinton, and the co-administrators of the project were Brandyn Woodard, who had been director of International and Intercultural Student Services at CSB/SJU, and faculty members Amanda Jantzer and Anna Mercedes. The grant project involved and was significantly shaped by the contributions of hundreds of community members, both from on campus and from our surrounding communities.
Though the grant period has ended, the work continues in many ways. At the heart of this work is the idea that inclusion requires a transformative, instead of a merely additive, process wherein our community is necessarily reformed and enriched through deep engagement among all members. Thus, true inclusion is not an end goal, but an ongoing process as we engage continually in becoming an inclusive community.
Through efforts inspired through Becoming Community at CSB/SJU, many of us continue to aim to provide the members of our community with the tools to create space for all to be heard and for all to thrive. We seek to create a place where more people can feel authentic, recognized, accepted, and wanted.