Friday, July 15, 2011

Collegium 2011: Day One

I had an opportunity to serve as a mentor at Collegium this summer. I first went to Collegium four years ago at the University of Portland. I loved the campus, the city and the Pacific Northwest. That is also where I fell in love with Collegium.

Collegium brings together instructors from 85 Catholic colleges and universities and during a period of a week explores Catholic Intellectual identity. It is a week of reading, studying, sharing, praying, worshiping, eating great food and playing. A friend of mine and a Collegium fellow said Collegium is where smart people get together to discuss interesting things. Yep, that is it.

I first served as a mentor two years ago at St. John’s University in Minnesota. I loved the lakes, the wildlife, and the monastery but again, it was the program that spoke to me in a deep way. I was invited to be a mentor last year but I had to decline. Our school was hosting the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities 2010 Symposium. I had helped plan the symposium and it was important that I stay on campus at the University of Saint Francis and help the rest of the leadership team. Besides, I would not have missed the symposium for the world. It was great to spend time with Franciscans from around the country and it was wonderful to show off our beautiful campus.

So this summer I again had the privilege of serving as a mentor. This time it was at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Massachusetts. This was the final Collegium school that hosts the event. It is also the headquarters for Collegium. I had never been to Massachusetts before and was excited about Collegium, the school and the area.

I was immediately lucky. I had a lay over at the Detroit International Airport. While there I bumped into John Neary. He is a fellow mentor and is a Professor of English at St. Norbert College in De Pere Wisconsin. He is a great guy and it made the travel time go by quickly.

I actually like traveling, even the sitting around part. So I love the Detroit Airport. I loved the airport tunnel which is awesome and I loved the monorail. I loved flying over Boston Harbor. I was excited to be in Boston just after they won the Stanly cup. Driving through Boston, seeing the downtown, Boston College thinking about Harvard, it all let me know I was in a different part of the country and I liked it.

Detroit Airport Tunnel

Mentors arrive a day prior to the Collegium. That gives us time for planning, introductions and to get settled. I needed that time to settle in. My first day was traveling from Fort Wayne to Boston, then taking a shuttle to Worcester for dinner and then arriving at the campus around nine in the evening. However, Tom Landy, the director of Collegium and Joyce Gawlick, the assistant director know how to make people feel welcomed and ready to work. We all arrived at The Citizens Kitchen and the People’s Wine Bar in downtown Worcester. This is a restored firehouse in the middle of the downtown. The food was great, we had a relaxed setting to get to know our fellow mentors and we had some laughs before a week of intense work.

After dinner we drove to the college. We were staying at the Williams apartments. It was a great residential setting looking down at the city and for the next nine days it would be home.

Collegium 2011: Our "Home"

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