Principles of Community Living

Our community is built with more than bricks and mortar.

The Catholic and Marianist vision of education makes the University of Dayton community unique.  It shapes the “warmth of welcome” we first experience and the “family spirit” we treasure.  It calls us to academic rigor integrated with faith and life.  It challenges each person and group to take up the hard work necessary to build the intellectual, spiritual, religious, moral, physical, and social dimensions of our educational community.      

Behavior, expectations, policies and relationships at UD are guided by the Catholic moral tradition.  This document highlights three Catholic and Marianist principles for learning and living in community and the key habits which are derived from them.  Individuals and groups are called to understand these principles and to develop these habits.  Doing so will strengthen the educational community at UD and will prepare students to live as mature members of society.    

I. Community is Essential for Learning

Community is more than a word. It's our shared vision.

Living in community is essential to the full development and education of the whole person. The Marianist tradition values community living as the practical way in which Christians learn to live the Gospel, striving to love God, neighbor and self in daily life. All people, regardless of religious belief or faith tradition, learn essential life lessons such as self-awareness, communication, cooperation, mutual respect, courage, forgiveness, patience and trust from living in community with others.

The climate of acceptance that Marianists call family spirit presumes an attention to the quality of relationships among the people in the community. At the level of daily interaction, all members of the community treat each other with respect and speak with simplicity and openness. Over the long term, these daily habits acknowledge the value and dignity of every member of the community, and create the ground in which genuine friendships can flourish.1

 However, building community requires more than friendliness, and is certainly about more than following rules. Genuine community requires maturity, commitment, self-sacrifice, and hard work. 

Such a vision of community and friendship runs the risk of being romanticized. It must therefore be recalled that friendliness and hospitality are genuine expressions of a process that necessarily includes conflict, division, and all manner of human suffering and failing. Yet, those grounded in the Marianist vision of education recognize that only precisely out of this mix of joy and sorrow can genuine communities be formed.2

Through learning in community, UD students are more able to become persons of great character and integrity.  They are better prepared to assume responsible membership in communities throughout their lifetime and to make a positive difference in the world. 

II. The Dignity of Every Person

You are valuable. We recognize the value of your presence.

This Marianist vision of community living is based on the conviction that every person has innate dignity because all people are made in the image and likeness of God:

All women and men are endowed with a rational soul and are created in God’s image; they have the same nature and origin and, being redeemed by Christ, they enjoy the same divine calling and destiny; there is here a basic equality between all and it must be accorded ever greater recognition. 3

 This awareness calls us not only to respect ourselves and others, but to love ourselves and all people because of the human dignity each of us receives from God. Respect and love for self include making personal, social, and academic decisions that preserve and improve one’s own dignity and well-being. Loving others includes the particular challenge to love and to respect those who are different from us. The presence of a wide range of perspectives, opinions, beliefs — and the diverse people who represent them — enhance the depth of the UD community and the ability of students to integrate the academic, religious, cultural, and social elements of their lives. The University Statement on Dignity states clearly:

 A primary assertion of both our religious and civil traditions is the inviolable dignity of each person. Recognition of and respect for the person are central to our life as a Christian and educational community and are what allow us to pursue our common mission while being many diverse persons. 4 

III. Solidarity and the Common Good

How do you contribute to the common good?

The Catholic emphasis on the common good emerges from the conviction that our human dignity draws us into community.  The common good is “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” 5 Emphasis on the common good shapes values very differently from secular culture, which typically gives the freedom of the individual greater importance than the needs of others. A concern for the common good leads us to make choices as individuals, groups, or organizations in light of how these choices affect other people and the community as a whole.  Our decisions and actions affect people in our classrooms, residence halls, houses, neighborhood, campus, city, country, and ultimately the world community.

Furthermore, we are called to actively create and promote the common good at UD and beyond.

Recognizing that our well-being is connected to the well-being of others, we practice solidarity:

a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. 6

 Practicing solidarity involves, for example, being actively present with those who are struggling, challenging behavior which is harmful to others, or working to change unjust social structures which inhibit people from reaching their fulfillment.


1 Characteristics of Marianist Universities: A Resource Paper (Chaminade University of Honolulu, St. Mary’s University, University of Dayton, 1999),  36.

2 Ibid, 38.

3  Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World in Vatican II, the Basic Sixteen Documents,   Austin Flannery, OP.  (Northport, NY:  Costello Publishing Company, 1996), 29.

4 “University Statement on Dignity,” University Of Dayton.  Available at https://www.udayton.edu/studev/about/commitment_to_community/statement_dignity.php

5 Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World in Vatican II, the Basic Sixteen Documents,   Austin Flannery, OP.  (Northport, NY:  Costello Publishing Company, 1996), 26.

John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis [Encyclical Letter on Social Concern], sec. 38, accessed February 13, 2015, http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/index.html#encyclicals