Community Means Everyone

By Eric F. Spina

If I walked across KU Plaza and randomly asked a group of students what one word comes to mind when they think of the University of Dayton, they’d respond in unison: “community.”

I’ve been inspired by our Marianist mission to build community and work across differences, but we’re always striving to live out our values more fully and authentically. Admittedly, this takes attentiveness and hard work.

"Community Means Everyone Week 2017" offers a moment to reflect and talk about how we can better fulfill our mission of living and learning in a community where the dignity of every person is respected and celebrated.

LGBTQ+ Support Services in collaboration with the Student Government Association (SGA), Campus Ministry, Spectrum, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for International Programming, and other campus partners have come together to offer numerous events Nov. 13-20 to bring faculty, staff, and students together to learn about resources, talk about difficult issues, pray, and reach out to one another across differences in a genuine spirit of building community.

SGA is holding what it calls “tough talks” about issues of race on our campus. A “Diversity in the Workplace” panel will help students evaluate companies to find meaningful careers and learn the value of being part of a diverse work team. An International Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil and display will memorialize the more than 80 people who lost their lives in the past year in transphobic violence. The monthly Prayers of the HEART prayer service around the Peace Pole by the chapel and St. Mary’s Hall is dedicated to all affected by discrimination and violence.

And that’s just a sampling of the events. For the full calendar, click here.

Laura Gentner, coordinator of LGBTQ+ support services, sums up the spirit of the week best: “ We’re using the metaphor of mosaic to describe community, in which each piece plays a unique role in contributing to the overall picture. If one piece is taken away, the picture is altered. In community, each person's set of identities and experiences contributes unique perspectives and adds value to the community.”

Student leaders this week will be asked to fill in this sentence, "If community means everyone, then ______."

Here’s how I’d fill in that blank. If community means everyone, then we must value the diverse gifts of all — every member of our community, every day.

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