The Georgetown University Student Association began recruiting students to serve on an advisory committee to assess the quality of religious life on campus and craft the GUSA Mission and Ministry Report.

The committee will comprise about 12 students in addition to co-chairs Kevin Sullivan (SFS ’14) and Laura West (COL ’13), representatives from the Georgetown University Office of Campus Ministry, Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. O’Brien, S.J.,  and university chaplains.

Applications for student spots on the committee were sent out Nov. 6 and are due today. Sullivan will select the student representatives by the end of the week, according to West, who also serves asGUSA secretary of mission and ministry.

Sullivan lauded the new initiative.
“This is the students’ first opportunity to have a formalized voice to have this kind of discussion,” he said. “It’s a big step in the right direction.”

According to West, the group aims to gather data to gauge the role of  campus ministry and religion and offer suggestions to improve ministry on campus. Sullivan said the committee hopes to release its report by the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.

“We want to make sure we focus on all aspects of campus ministry — so in the classrooms, extra-curricular and co-curricular,” West said. “We want to be intentional and not too broad in our scope and recognize that campus ministry plays a role in a lot of aspects on campus.”

The committee and the Office of Campus Ministry will release a campus-wide survey early next semester to measure student opinion about religious life on campus. The group will also organize focus groups and formal discussions on religion and gather information from other Catholic schools in the District to compare experiences, according to Sullivan.

“We hope to have hard data ready by the end of the next semester and spend the end of the next calendar year working on compiling the information and writing the recommendations,” West said.

The idea for the working group arose from the Student Life Report, a 10-year plan released in February 2012 that outlined ways to improve the quality of the on-campus experience. It was also inspired by the Task Force on Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit Identity, a faculty commission report released in 1997 that explored ways that Georgetown could enhance its Jesuit identity.

“The Student Life Report stated that the spiritual life merits its own study separate from the student life report,” Sullivan said. “The Student Life Report called on others who would be more qualified to perform the report.”

After gathering data, the group will present its insights to the Office of Campus Ministry, university faculty, administrators and students.

“We wanted to present a report that takes some of the insight that has come from student discussions … so we can get a better understanding of how religion manifests itself on campus and where our weakness[es] and strengths are,” West said. “The goal is to provide the university with a set of both commendation and recommendations about how religious and spiritual life can continue to flourish on campus.”

Hoya Staff Writer Annie Chen contributed to this report.

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