I began working for Meadville Lombard Theological School just over a year ago. Prior to this job, I had never heard of Unitarian Universalism. During the interview process, I started to read about this interesting group of people and learn more about the UU faith. As a proudly Jesuit educated individual, I could see a lot of similarities in the basic principles of Unitarian Universalism and the values that I cherish about Jesuitism. The focus on social justice, service learning, and education are shared values between these two very different faiths.
I am so glad that I was offered the opportunity to become a member of the Meadville Lombard staff, and I am proud to say that I learned more and more about the faith, primarily from our students. When students are on campus, I attend Vespers services and participate in convocation activities. The communications piece of my work at Meadville allows me to interview and converse with students often. What I see in these interactions are passionate people. People who make the difficult and life-changing decision to go back to school and follow their dreams – a respected decision no matter your religious background.
I also see this decision as difficult from a monetary viewpoint. I graduated from undergraduate school three years ago, and I chose a path that doesn’t involve a large monetary payout (similar to our students) when I made the decision to work in the non-profit sector. I am all too familiar with the burden of student loans and the toll that can take on your life. This is why I am so passionate about development (another portion of my job).
In order to “do” the difficult job of minister, I don’t think you can have student loans weighing you down – this is why scholarship aid is so important. It is sad to know that some people may have to compromise the uniquely Unitarian Universalist education that Meadville Lombard offers for a non-UU school that offers more tuition assistance. Although, we try to offer scholarships and aid to many of our students, we still need to offer more. Our students are still walking away from school with a hefty debt, or worse, not being able to attend Meadville at all.
This is why I choose to give. I have seen how amazing and influential our students and alumni/ae can be – and I want to be a part of that. My gift is small, but it is monthly, it is consistent, and it matters. I hope that UUs and those that have been touched by UUs would consider Meadville Lombard in their giving. I know I can make a difference, and I know you can make a difference.