| UST Announces the Integration of Campus Ministry to the Center for Faith and Culture |
The Department of Campus Ministry at the University of St. Thomas will integrate into the framework of the Donald S. Nesti, CSSp Center for Faith and Culture. Through the leadership of Fr. Chris Valka, CSB, director Center for Faith and Culture, and in collaboration with Fr. Dave Bittner, CSB, campus chaplain, President Dr. Richard Ludwick has approved the merger between the two departments. The reorganization stems from the ideas and concepts around how faith is lived, nurtured and celebrated on campus. Since its founding, UST has strived to live the meaning of Catholic with the universality that defines the Faith; as it serves people of all beliefs and backgrounds.
The merger will better serve UST’s students while integrating the practice of faith on campus with the academic programs of Christian Leadership, Education, and Faith and Culture –programs that already exist under the guidance of the Center. Additionally, many of the inter-religious and ecumenical benefits that are part of the Center’s work across the country on behalf of the US Bishops will now be offered to UST students. New opportunities will be created as the Center creates this bridge between its extensive external work in the community as well as its expanded focus on the internal work on campus, allowing the CFC to serve as a “Center” of Faith and Culture.
The merging of functions will allow Fr. Bittner, greater capacity to focus on the pastoral needs of students on campus unencumbered by time-consuming administrative tasks. Fr. Valka will serve as director of this newly formed team of Campus Ministry and the Center for Faith and Culture.
Campus Ministry will move its physical location to the Center for Faith and Culture, creating a quad of student activities at the central locations of Sul Ross and Graustark Streets, including the Moran Center, Crooker Student Center, and Guinan Residence Hall. In this new space, offices will be reconfigured to form workspaces designed to promote creativity, cross-pollination, and the integration of activities between Residence Life, Student Activities, and Campus Ministries, making it truly a “Center” for Faith and Culture. The move of the physical offices took place during the Christmas break.
In responses to the reorganization of the two departments, Fr. Valka said, “Almost from the very beginning, Dr. Ludwick, Fr. Dave and I began to reimagine how faith is lived on campus and how Campus Ministry and the Center for Faith and Culture could collaborate to provide leadership in the formation and fulfillment of a student’s faith.”