Two CSB students attend summit, bring Benedictine values with them

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August 9, 2018

By Mike Killeen

In theory, Maddie Krumel and Sarah Dischinger attended the Student Ambassador Leaders Together (SALT) Summit to advocate for policy change on key international humanitarian issues, such as global migration and hunger.

In practice, though, the two seniors from the College of Saint Benedict brought their Benedictine values to the summit, which was organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

Both Krumel and Dischinger are CRS Student Ambassadors through their positions with CSB Campus Ministry’s Spirituality and Social Justice Team. They joined other student ambassadors from colleges and universities across the country at the summit July 16-18.

The first two days of sessions in Baltimore focused on leadership, campus organizing and advocacy. Then, the 175 students and staff members representing 60 schools took the jaunt south to Washington, D.C., to meet with Congressional staff on Capitol Hill.

Krumel and Dischinger met with representatives from the offices of Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, whose Sixth District includes the CSB campus.

“The issues of global hunger and migration are important to me because I firmly believe in the life and dignity of every person regardless of where they are in the world,” said Dischinger, a theology and gender studies double-major from Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

“This has been instilled in me not only through my faith and awareness of Catholic Social Teaching, but also the education I received at Saint Ben’s,” Dischinger said.

“Global solidarity requires us to care deeply about the suffering of our neighbors,” said Krumel, an English major from Des Moines, Iowa. “I think the privileges that come from our access to education, clean water, nutritious food and so many other freedoms give us a responsibility and an opportunity to respond with love to people who lack access to the same things.

“We preach Benedictine hospitality, but if we want to be authentic about it, we must reach beyond our borders. I really believe we do our humanity a disservice when we focus only on ourselves,” Krumel said.

Both said the sessions with Congressional staff went well.

“Sarah and I, along with Aaron Voth (assistant director of CSB Campus Ministry), felt respected, heard and encouraged,” Krumel said.

“We were advocating for the highest possible budget allocated to international aid, and overall we were met with responses in agreement with our stance,” Dischinger said. “It was really interesting getting to advocate for something I really believe in, and made me realize how unintimidating these sorts of meetings are.”

Both said they will bring much back from the summit to campus.

“I learned to use my voice to the biggest extent and to not get discouraged because no matter how small the advocacy work we do really matters,” Dischinger said. “We do our best every year to bring greater awareness to a variety of issues through our advocacy programs, so when we are back on campus we hope to approach our advocacy programming with a renewed sense of zeal.”

“The SALT Summit helped us to think critically about what we’ve done, what other schools have done and what we could do to address global issues,” Krumel said. “Human dignity suffers in so many ways around the world, and we have to care enough to preserve it.

“We left the conference with a number of different ideas and resources for new and old events to hold at CSB and SJU, and we are excited to invite students to take steps toward better loving our neighbors near and far,” she added.