Principles

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”1 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 Living Is an Essential Learning Experience

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

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

However, building community requires more than friendliness and is certainly about more than following rules. Genuine community requires a commitment to personal growth, authenticity, learning about others, self-sacrifice, accountability, dialogue 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 communityes be formed.

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.

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

All persons are endowed with a rational soul and are created in God’s image … there is here a basic equality between all and it must be accorded ever greater recognition … any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.4

This conviction calls us not only to respect ourselves and others but also 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.

Respect and love for others includes intentionally seeking opportunities to learn from them, to support their growth and to be mutually challenged. The presence of a wide range of perspectives, opinions and 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 of 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.5

III. Solidarity and the Common Good

How do you contribute to the common good?

The Catholic and Marianist emphasis on solidarity and the common good emerges from the conviction that respect for human dignity draws us into community. The Catholic emphasis on the common good is countercultural. Rather than prioritizing freedom of the individual over 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 positively affect other persons and the community as a whole.

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 … Every group must take into account the needs and legitimate aspirations of every other group, and even those of the human family as a whole.6

Our decisions and actions affect people where we live, in our classrooms, residence halls, houses, neighborhood, campus, city and country, and ultimately the world community.

As we make these decisions and live in community, we remember that the common good is more than compassion from afar and more than what is best for the greatest number of people. The Catholic understanding of the common good is rooted in the practice of solidarity and in a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters.

In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes, logically and inevitably, a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters.7

[Solidarity] is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is 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.8

Practicing solidarity means being actively present with those who are struggling. Practicing solidarity is about challenging behavior that is harmful to others. It also involves working to change unjust social structures that inhibit people from reaching their fulfillment. Practicing solidarity includes a commitment to care for our common home, the environment, by being mindful of and making decisions that benefit the earth and all God’s creatures. We are called to practice solidarity and to actively contribute to the common good at UD and beyond.


1 Rule of Life of the Society of Mary,(Dayton, OH: Marianist Press, 1984), article 8.
Characteristics of Marianist Universities: A Resource Paper (Chaminade University of Honolulu, St. Mary’s University, University of Dayton, 1999), 36.
Ibid, 38.
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World in Vatican II, the Basic Sixteen Documents, Austin Flannery, O.P. (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Co., 1996), 29.
5 “Statement of Dignity,” University of Dayton. Available at http://udayton.edu/studev/about/commitment_to_community/statement_dignity.php.
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World in Vatican II, the Basic Sixteen Documents, Austin Flannery, O.P. (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Co., 1996), 26.
Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 158, May 24, 2015. Available at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html (Accessed February 27, 2018).
8 Pope John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38, December 30, 1987. Available at http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_30121987_sollicitudo-rei-socialis.html (Accessed Feb 27, 2018).
CONTACT

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