Saint Ignatius of Loyola often ended his letters to Jesuits going on missions with the expression ite, inflammate omnia — “go, set the world on fire.”

The connections students make at Georgetown are what sustain this flame throughout their journeys, and the faculty, deans and other mentors on campus are integral in these engagements. Moreover, with the introduction of a new technology, Hoya360, we hope to deepen and broaden these connections so that they survive long after Hoyas leave the Hilltop.

Each fall, new students arrive hungry to acquire knowledge and experiences to help them learn and grow. Each spring, students depart the Hilltop armed with new knowledge, skills and insights to enter our broader world and make it a better place. There is plenty of fire on both ends of the journey.

It is energizing as an academic dean to thrive off the hopes and dreams of new students who arrive each fall, and it is deeply fulfilling to see students walk across the stage each spring having been changed by the faculty who taught them, the peers who challenged them and the members of our community who mentored them.

This transformational change in our students does not happen by accident. Our faculty constantly and unyieldingly pursue knowledge while also working tirelessly to hone the craft of teaching through a delicate balance of challenge and support.

The same is true of academic deans and other campus mentors. It takes dedication and skill to know when to push students to do more and challenge them to be better, and to understand when to intervene with students to help them slow down. Saint Ignatius’ fire burns brightly at either end of this transformational journey. The values of the order he founded guide all of us through the middle.

Our engagement with one another throughout the journey is deeply personal. Students enter into the profound search to find their unique calling and seek out how to best use their individual talents. Faculty and mentors, meanwhile, craft unique pathways, connecting with students through their own experiences to help move them from where they are to where they want to go. It is not that each Georgetown class has a singular journey from start to finish on the Hilltop — they have thousands of customized journeys, one for each member of the class.

When we ask our alumni, several years removed from our Hilltop, to reflect upon their journeys here and what Georgetown means to them, the most common response we hear is “home.”

While home can conjure many emotions and have a plethora of meanings, our alumni tell us that, for them, it is the feeling of being intimately known, cared for and loved during a time of profound growth and change. The connections they formed on their Hilltop home shape them for the rest of their lives.

The faculty, staff and caretakers of our university are always trying to blaze new trails and build a better home for the current and future generations of Hoyas. We create new courses, service opportunities and leadership experiences and even physically alter the landscape of the Hilltop.

Throughout all of this change, a deep connection with others remains the root of what makes each student’s journey special.

Later this semester, a new one-stop portal will launch for students — Hoya360. This site is our community’s vision of an expanded home. Though it is a new technology, at its core it is a tool for deepening our connections at Georgetown.

Using Hoya360, students will be able to communicate their passions and interests to their deans and mentors, who will then be able to better match them with meaningful opportunities. Students will eventually be able to search for and connect with other faculty and peers who share similar research interests or service passions.

The new portal will integrate a myriad of different important topics and information sources into one site: Academic and wellness resources, and more, will be found in one easy-to-access place. Perhaps best of all, Hoya360 will travel with students as they leave the Hilltop and transition to alumni life.

Keep an eye on gu360.georgetown.edu for more information, and watch for the link to your portal after it launches. We are excited about what we have built and for you to have the tools to connect with your community more deeply and meaningfully. These connections are what fuel the Georgetown fire — we hope Hoya360 helps us all to burn a bit brighter.

Douglas Little is the senior assistant dean and director of academic affairs in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. From the Dean’s Desk appears online every other Thursday.

 

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