At Saint Xavier, there is a required general education course that all undergraduates must take in order to graduate, community-based learning. Some high schools may also have this as part of their requirements. CBL, as it is more colloquially called, is an aspect of a class that involves the participation and appreciation of service in the lesson plan for the course. Service, it is, in my opinion, the core value of SXU. We hear it all the time — service, community service, volunteer service. All of this wordplay, but what does it actually mean? This week, I participated in an SXU service opportunity that occurs every Monday and Thursday afternoons, Bread Truck. In it, we went to several locations in the neighborhood, including an area known as Back of the Yards that has a predominantly Latino, many newly arrived immigrants, and black population with much of the populace at or below the poverty line. For those students that may not have experienced the level of poverty that those living in the area endure, it may be a shock, an eye-opener of one salient facet of Chicago. But for those of us, including myself,that indeed experienced the level of poverty they currently experienced, it was a reminder of painful memories and an ever constant thought in the back of our heads, the feeling of true hunger. It is a human right, I believe, that all people should be fed, never to go hungry. Millions around the world and here at home suffer that terrible pain. It is services like the Port Ministries Bread Truck that bring light to this issue and attempt to elevate it. That is what I wish to discuss in this week’s introspection, service.
We, as citizens of this nation have the opportunity and duty to our fellow citizens, the downdraught and destitute. I often hear the word privilege used in a manner, especially today, that is jarring and divisive. I, myself, do not like the word. Instead, I find opportunity a better fit. It allows us, with our financial and social standing, to achieve things to a degree that those that cannot are able to. When you think hard and long on this issue, a thought comes to mind. Would I want someone to do the same? I’m pretty sure we’d all want someone to help us get back on our feet. All of us would want not to go hungry. When you look into the eyes of these people, you see a part of yourself in them. When you drive through Chicago and see these people asking for money from car to car or out front of the Art Institute, it’s easy to ignore them and hope they don’t ask you. But once you hand them a paper bag with food, when you see them beam as they humbly accept the meal, you can no longer ignore them and it is hard. But this is life. WE all have a duty to our fellow man. This is what Saint Xavier University desires in its students, and it is something we all should strive for, service.