Christmas Housing for Aquinas Students
I suppose I'll keep it short and sweet, feel free to email me at JLM008@aquinas.edu if you have any questions! Two more official-y things
1) This account is NOT an official Aquinas College account and is not tied to the organization in any way. Rather it is a group of students who has decided to act for themselves due to the lack of housing provided by the organization
2) ANY funds that are not used for securing housing this Christmas by the proposed group of students will be used to create a scholarship fund to help with the break housing costs, on- or off-campus, in the future
Aquinas College has decided to pursue a sustainable and systemic solution in response to the foster and homeless students at Aquinas! I am THRILLED that my college is stepping up to do this, and proud to say that I am an AQ Saint! Funds raised will continue to support the final solution that is to be determined with continued dialogue. Thank you, again, for your continued support!
Here is the official statement from Aquinas College:
However, I do have one small request. Aquinas is a very small school; we have a population of a little less than 1,500 students. We are grounded in the Dominican Catholic tradition, and that is one of the things I love the most about my school.
Yes, I am disheartened by the response that I received from my school. However, much like myself and other students who are working on improving ourselves by obtaining an education, they too are a work-in-progress. Regardless of the faith or spirituality you choose to follow, we are human. They are human. Therefore, as we move forward in searching for solutions that are safe AND effective, I ask that each of you keep this in mind.
Instead of harshly critiquing the individuals who have made these decisions, please lift them up in your thoughts, in your prayers, in your meditations... As many of you pointed out, change takes time. It is no exception here. Therefore, it would be my own humble opinion as a young person who is still in the beginning parts of my own journey that the most productive and effective way to approach this problem would be in a positive and supportive manner. We have reached a point where we know we must do what is in the best interest of students, we must do what is safe, effective, warm, compassionate, and reflective of the needs of everyone (the school and the students!).
I apologize for the lengthy post, but wanted to express my own humble request that there is respect and support shown not only for me and my fellow students, but for my school as well. The correct response to an accusation of violence is not to act in violence, but in peace. The correct response to an accusation of an attack on the school is not with an attack on the school, but with an embrace of support that is both positive and encouraging as we search for solutions.
Thank you, again. I appreciate each and every one of you, and as always, welcome and comments or questions you may have.
In the past, we have had students go home with other families or students, with less-than-optimal results. Some students have had safety issues, others have had the plan fall through last-minute without a way to find other plans, and others have even been evicted from the house that is supposed to be providing shelter! Although we will continue to try to find ways to make this system work, the safest and most ideal solution would be to allow the students who cannot 'go home' to 'stay home'-- in a place they know they are safe and warm.
We will continue to keep you updated-- and thank you, so much, again! Every contribution and 'share' helps!
When I was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, officials there would provide housing to certain students over break by asking the residents of one dormitory of they would allow their rooms to be used by these students. There were enough generous souls to accommodate everyone, and at little cost to the university (though the cafeterias were still closed over break).
I really did not want to be known, but anyway, I just wish I had the money to help the way I want too. I believe strongly that not one person in America shoud be homeless or hungry! It's unbelievable to me that people with the money and power to change this right here in the U.S. do nothing. Americas don't understand anything unless it happens to them, a family memeber, or friend. It is so sad, I hope to God this changes. God bless you all and I hope you reaise much more money than your goal.
What about having area alumni or people in the community host such students? Is there a local church congregation connected with the university? What about seeing if there are any members who can also host students? Maybe the university doesn't have the means directly but there should be alumni or community people why may have spare bedrooms in their homes.
I don't have money to help, but I did share this on FB, in hopes that someone I know may be able to donate something to your cause. No one should be worried about a roof over their head during the holidays and certainly not someone who is trying to better their circumstances by going to college. Good luck.
I must say that I find it sadly ironic that a college supposedly founded and administered on "Christian" principles cannot find the means to accommodate the housing of otherwise homeless students over the christmas break. The response that sleeping in the streets or at a homeless shelter "builds character" is the antithesis of Christ's teachings. To my knowledge, Jesus of Nazareth never talked of "building character." "Pious" souls like those running Aquinas College who profess to believe in the teachings of the Gospels bring disgrace upon the legacy of Jesus. It is Christian "leaders" like these that brought Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, John Adams, and even Abraham Lincoln to despise Christianity. Those like you who put money and pride before charity and humility are why Christianity in general and the Catholic church in particular is losing relevancy in the lives of so many. Turning away homeless students at Christmas is a disgrace on the legacy of the school and on the legacy of Jesus of Nazareth. How ironic is it that a college that professes to be principled on the teachings of a man born in a manger because his family was turned away at the Inn would itself turn away homeless students in need of a safe place to sleep over the holiday celebrating the birth of that same man whom the leaders of that college profess to worship. I would encourage everyone to email the president of the college and express in a respectful manner feelings on this issue. the email addreess is email@example.com.
Awful! The college had an opportunity to do the right thing. The fact they shamed and shut down this poor girl after such a thoughtful and kind Petition when speaking of the school. Kind words that the college clearly doesn't deserve. I hope families reconsider sending their children to this school. Karma is a bitch. And she's got her sights on this school.
If it was easy it would have been done already. Change, particularly organizational change, is very hard. People who make change happen are called leaders, and effective leaders are very valuable because they are rare. It takes consistent and determined pressure to get people like this to change. You might take a look at the efforts of people like Cheryl Honkula -- you might even send her a note and let her know of your effort -- because it parallels her lifetime of work for homeless and disadvantaged people in Philadelphia. Personally I find your efforts and the plight of the people you champion to be a moving story and one that resonates, or should resonate, with what most Americans believe to be their core values of self-help, self-reliance and self-improvement regardless of obstacles. Of course there is more than a little bit of self-deception in that, because we do not live, work or achieve alone. We are part of a web, a matrix of relationships and mutual dependencies. You are part of it and are both dependent on others and a contributor to the lives of others -- looks like you are a large contributor. The leadership of Acquinas seems not to understand their own relationships to the community around them. They need someone to teach and lead them. The fact that there is Senatorial legislation being contemplated, even if it does not have a realistic chance of being enacted this year, is evidence that you do not work alone.
I did not know that being homeless during the holiday winter break "is an exercise in independence, and may help build character," according to the Aquinas College officials you met with. I'm counting on them to try it themselves. Maybe they could trade places for a day, or twelve? Good luck with your fundraising and your education. You have a great future. There is life after Aquinas College!
Shame on Aquinas College and all the other colleges and universities that don't mind leaving students homeless over the holidays who have nowhere else to stay. Try sending a letter to the president of the college and other top administrators asking them to make major donations to this fund, given how generously they are compensated. Since on top of the president's salary the school provides a mansion to live in free of charge, ask how many students s/he is willing to put up under the circumstances?
What about a student host program, where students who live nearby can sign up to host a student who doesn't have housing over break at their house? I think I've heard of other schools with programs like that before. It won't cost money, but the school could facilitate the network of students and the sign-ups and everything.