At the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Spring Hill College was asked to begin the Mission Self Examen, which is a year-long discernment process that allows students, faculty and staff to reflect on the mission of the college to see if the institution is living up to its Jesuit ideals.
The Society of Jesus and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities created the Mission Examen to look at all 28 Jesuit institutions and gauge how they are actively living into their missions. The AJCU created a model document that is used to look at different aspects of campus culture regarding Jesuit spirituality.
The college has created a steering committee with faculty, staff and students. Junior Maria Mengis who is on the steering committee comments, “this past round of sessions during the fall semester were scheduled during class or otherwise inconvenient time slots for students, so I brought it up in our meeting and it will be addressed in the next round of sessions in the spring. I’m also working on pulling a larger, more diverse student voice from the sessions.”
Student participation is necessary for the examen as the college continues to serve its students first. Junior Landy Thomas was surprised at how passionate other students are about Spring Hill. She said, “I did not realize that other people cared about Spring Hill as much as I do. At least, I didn't realize that even in the different realms that exist here on campus that there were people who wanted to fight for Spring Hill in the same way that I want to fight, using their own resources and reinforcements.”
She continued, “The people's passions that push Spring Hill along are all different but all fighting for the same Spring Hill, a Spring Hill that welcomes without discrimination, provides without leaving members wanting, and runs on the support of a willing and loving community looking out for the College's best interest beyond what the world might deem as best for other colleges.”
The main purpose for an Examen is to reflect and move forward. Director of Campus Ministry, Father Mark Mossa, stated, “The Mission Examen is important because it gives us and the Jesuits a good sense of how we are working together for a common mission, and it helps us to gauge whether or not we are living up to that mission as we should.” At the end of the Examen Spring Hill will have two reports for the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, one created by the steering committee and the other by a group from other Jesuit colleges to examine our culture.
Chancellor of the college, Father Greg Lucey said, “What we want to do is lay out our priorities, see where our challenges are, and layout where we need to go for our future priorities.” Lucy also commented that the mission examen came at an interesting time, since our college leadership is in a time of transition. But overall, the Examen is allowing every person on campus to reflect on where we have been and will allow us to grow into where we need to go.