Heads, hands and hearts

A message from Vice President Fr Anthony Casamento csma:

Since his election, Pope Francis has emphasised the need for the Church to “go out to the peripheries”. In addressing the challenges and problems presented by contemporary societies, Pope Francis particularly calls on Catholic educational institutions to offer their staff and students the opportunity to involve ‘heads, hands and hearts’.

Two years ago, ACU was successfully accepted to be part of a new and innovative program, Uniservitate, that aims to address Pope Francis’s call. Uniservitate is a global network of universities that works to promote service-learning in Catholic higher education. Its mission is simple: to empower university students as real agents of social change in the construction of a more just and supportive society that expresses the mandate of the ‘civilisation of love’.

I am delighted that later this month, Uniservitate’s III Global Symposium, will be hosted at our Campus di Roma in conjunction with ACU Engagement and LUMSA university in Rome. The aims of this symposium are:

  • to deepen the dialogue between the pedagogy of service-learning and the Global Education Pact
  • to reflect on and investigate the spiritual dimension of service-learning and its contribution to the identity and mission of Catholic Higher Education Institutions
  • to share experiences and processes of institutionalisation of service-learning in Higher Education Institutions
  • to facilitate the exchange on university social commitment and service-learning between specialists, authorities, teachers and students of higher education institutions with differing cultural contextual perspectives.

ACU Engagement’s Dr Matthew Pink has been instrumental in the planning of this gathering and will represent ACU at this global gathering.

In speaking about the event Dr Pink said, “I am privileged and excited to represent ACU at the symposium and to support the activation of the Rome campus in such a meaningful way. The opportunity for knowledge exchange and further development with the global Catholic service-learning community is profound. The Uniservitate program has been transformational for ACU, connecting us to the wider field and providing clear signposts for raising the standard of impactful curriculum-embedded community engagement at ACU”.

I look forward to hearing how the learnings from the symposium can be integrated into the service learning experiences that we offer our students here at ACU.

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