New center will improve Loyola community service



The Rev. Donald Hawkins, S.J., opened the new Catholic Missal to read the Gospel of the day during Sunday Mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church, Jan. 22. Hawkins is the current pastor of Holy Name of Jesus and a former assistant director of novices at Jesuit Novitiate at Grand Coteau, Miss. He is also the author of the document, “Pioneer Jesuit in the South.”

Karl Gommel Staff Writer

The Office of Mission and Ministry is developing a new center to open in the fall 2012 semester, which will use research to improve university volunteer service.

The center will be called the Center for Community Engagement, said Josh Daly, the assistant director for Service, Justice and Sustainability. Daly is serving as the director of developing the center.

The center is part of Loyola 2012, the university strategic plan approved May 15, 2009. The strategic plan says the center’s development started in the fall 2009 semester. Daly said the economic climate has pushed back the center’s launch date, but the delay has been a blessing in disguise.

“The pushed back date gives us a chance to revision and refine the vision we have for the center,” Daly said.

Kurt Bindewald, University Ministry director, said part of the center’s vision is to gather data on all university public service. Daly said the center plans to gather that data and apply it to providing better resources to university service programs.

“We need to do a better job to track what kind of contribution to the community we’re making,” Bindewald said.

The center will coordinate between Loyola service programs and community service agencies in New Orleans, Daly said.

Sam Shahin, a jazz studies senior who volunteered as a sophomore, said he welcomes this function.

“If the center is going to improve connections between Loyola and agencies, that’s great,” Shahin said.

Currently, service agencies partner with certain parts of Loyola but not all of the university, Daly said. He said that the new center will enhance relationships by linking agencies with all parts of the university, giving the agencies more resources. He used the University of Maryland as an example, where the university’s information technology department assists service agencies’ information technology sectors.

“In doing that (connecting agencies to Loyola) we are enhancing our capacity and ability for our stakeholders. The community voice is heard,” Daly said.

Such processes are key to improving volunteer service at Loyola. Daly said he feels these initiatives will help Loyola discover specific issues or neighborhoods that require attention. He said that the center aims to make Loyola an effective partner with the communities.

Karl Gommel can be reached at [email protected]