By Sophia De Quattro
When you set foot on Dominican University of California’s campus, over 120 years of heritage entices your senses. Walking outside of Guzman Hall, the centermost building on campus, the view of Mt. Tamalpais takes your breath away, the scent of a freshly cut lawn catches your attention as you walk and engage in conversation with a friend, mentor, professor, or colleague, surrounded by the picturesque foliage that dances along with the coastal breeze of the Bay Area.
At the forefront there is an endless amount of beauty to see on campus; moreover, there is an underlying, inherent spirit that courses throughout those who attend and work for the university, carrying out the Dominican Charism that was initiated by St. Dominic centuries ago in 1216. Charism refers to the distinct spirit that animates a religious community and gives it a particular character. A Charism is part of the permanent heritage of a community, which includes the rule, mission, history, and traditions kept by the religious institute.
The Dominican Sisters founded the university after leaving France with Bishop Alemany of Monterey and traveling to Marin County in 1850, which was then booming with the population that migrated to the area during the Gold Rush. The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael established the stunning campus in 1890.
Isabel Cremer, co-president of Campus Ministry, explains, “The sisters are followers of St. Dominic, who dedicated his life to preaching with the Bible in one hand and the times in the other.” The epicenter of his inspiration originates from the need to raise awareness on current social issues that affect us on every scale and aspect of our lives. He created a new order that was given the title Order of Preachers. At Dominican University of California, the four pillars of Dominican Tradition—study, service, community, and reflection are embodied in curricula, clubs, and school sponsored events.
Organized groups on campus add fuel to the fire with their undying efforts to help out communally. Dominican Young Adult is a newly formed club on campus that meets once a month to study, form community, reflect, and do service. Over the summer, three students were selected to attend a Dominican Preaching and Action conference to learn more about being ‘Dominican’ in a college setting. Lianni Castro, the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, explains “There are eighteen Dominican universities in the U.S. and we are the only Dominican school west of the Mississippi. So this year the conference was in New York at Molloy College. The Sisters of Long Island plan this every year. It’s in conjunction to helping colleges that are Dominican to understand what it means to be Dominican, to connect us all together because there’s all a common theme in the ways we run our campus ministries.”
Castro speaks very passionately on her vision for Dominican students, and the world in general, working together with the mindset that we are citizens of a global community. Campus Ministry has been an outlet for learning more about cultures around the world firsthand. If service is something that you have grown up with, or if it’s something you’ve never experienced for yourself, I urge you to speak to any one of the people mentioned in today’s piece, or by attending Campus Ministry’s club meeting on Wednesdays at 6pm in Fanjeaux Student Union.
For service with Campus Ministry: email@example.com
For Campus Ministry club: firstname.lastname@example.org
For general questions about Campus Ministry: email@example.com
For Dominican Young Adult club: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article prefaces a series that will be published in The Dominican Beat. In following segments, students in active service programs will speak on their personal experiences.