Campus Ministry offices at CSB, SJU receive service award

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April 24, 2020

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Campus Ministry offices have been jointly honored by the Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN) as one of 25 “Top Schools for Service 2020.”

The award was announced April 23 during National Volunteer Week.

Besides the 25 Top Schools for Service, CVN recognized four other campuses as “emerging” schools for service. The 29 total selections come from four U.S. regions (Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England and West/Southwest). CSB/SJU is one of 14 campuses to be recognized in the Midwest region.

“Campus Ministry at the College of Saint Benedict is deeply humbled to be recognized by CVN as one of its 2020 Top Schools for Service,” said Aaron Voth, assistant director of Campus Ministry at CSB. “We promise to use this honor as additional motivation to continue our work of engaging students in service to others." 

“Pope Francis’ popularized notion of ‘encounter’ calls us to stretch ourselves as much as we are able to serve those most in need,” said Margaret Nuzzolese Conway, director of Campus Ministry at SJU. “We know that there’s a direct relationship between those who do post-grad service and one’s life-long vocation (religious and lay people committed to ministry and the margins) so we prioritize this type of encouragement for how it results in a healthier Catholic Church.”

During National Volunteer Week, CVN recognized the women and men who serve in campus ministries, service-learning and social justice offices and career centers at colleges and universities nationwide.

These campus professionals “walk with students, help them engage in service and help them to consider how to incorporate spirituality and social justice into their lives post-graduation,” CVN said in a statement. “Through this work, they help both their students and our member programs to share in the vision statement of the CVN: ‘Through service rooted in faith, all will know the opportunity to impact the world and be transformed,’”

Three factors influenced the selections, made by a three-person team at CVN in consultation with a CVN board member:

  • CVN’s Annual Membership Survey, where volunteer programs indicated the schools their volunteers originate from AND schools that have hosted successful post-graduate service events;
  • CVN’s Volunteer Survey, where recent volunteers indicated the schools they attended, AND the factors leading them to choose their service programs;
  • CVN staff feedback in more subjective areas – such as schools that CVN feels have demonstrated excellence in collaborating with its network of over 150 programs.

“Based on the 2018 and 2019 CVN Membership Surveys, CSB/SJU was indicated as a popular school among volunteer program recruiters,” said Mike McCormick, outreach coordinator at CVN. “Our staff also feels that both the CSB and SJU Campus Ministry teams show exceptional encouragement of post-grad service among students and exceptional collaboration with our network.”

Even with the large number of network programs, McCormick noted that CSB/SJU stood out.

“Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s have demonstrated outstanding commitment to post-grad service, which we are pleased to recognize with this honor,” McCormick said.