On Tuesday, the Tribune published an editorial encouraging students to attend Mission Week events. I wholeheartedly agree with the editorial board that students should take full advantage of these events, but this year’s schedule has been very frustrating for me.
The only event I have thus far been able to attend was because one of my professors felt it was important enough to sacrifice class time and allow our class to go as a group. Other than that, I have been in class for almost every event I wanted to attend.
I understand that not everyone has my class schedule, but the fact that most events take place during times when it’s pretty normal for people to have class (between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.) is frustrating. Many of the other events are not actually open to students and are listed as “private events” on the Mission Week schedule online. I will be attending the keynote event this afternoon, but I wish I had been able to attend more.
Mission week has always been special to me. My freshman year, Marquette awarded its prestigious Pere Marquette award to the “Little Rock Nine” during this week. These nine courageous individuals were trailblazers – the first black students to enroll in an Arkansas public high school in 1957, moving school desegregation from something strictly on paper to a reality.
Hearing these individuals speak four years ago about their decisions and experiences moved me to tears. I remember sitting in the Varsity Theater, reporter’s notebook on my lap, enthralled that I was in the same room as a group of people who had changed the course of history. Hearing them made me seriously consider my choice in major and the path I had set my life on at age 19.
Since that week in 2010, I have always been enthusiastic about Mission Week and taken time to attend a few events throughout the week. It has been, for me, exactly what it is supposed to be for the Marquette community: a week of celebration and reflection on Jesuit values, how they play into our lives and how our lives can affect other people.
I am proud to attend a school where such a week is possible and sad that my final opportunity to experience it was not as accessible for me as the past three.