Hurst begins Student Emissary program

Marina Boyle, Managing editor

While many Mercyhurst students live out the core values of Mercyhurst in their everyday lives, it is unlikely that students do so in a formalized way.

Up to now, Mercyhurst employees have had that opportunity through the Mercy Emissary program,an initiative that allows lay people like Mercyhurst staff to live out the mission of the Sisters of Mercy in an authentic and useful way.

This year, the Mercy Emissary program is advancing beyond its roots, as a program is being estab- lished for students.

The goal is to allow students to embrace the ideology of the Mercy Mission by learning more about the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy, their role in Mercyhurst and their critical concerns of today.

Students can take the values and mission learned at Mercyhurst beyond the gates in away that advances the Mercy cause and ideals that have existed for decades.

“Mercy Emissaries began in 2015 as part of a concerted university-wide effort to look at how we help employees to embrace and live the Mercy heritage and Catholic identity of Mercyhurst University. Sr. Lisa Mary McCart- ney was the key player in developing the initial employee program,” GregBaker,Ph.D.,Vice President

for Mission Integration, said. “We are now ready for the students to get involved.”

Students will learn about everything from the journey from Ireland to Erie, the foundation of Mercyhurst College, the Catholic intellectual tradition, Catholic social teaching and the current works of the Sisters of Mercy.

The journey will culminate in a retreat for all those who become Student Emissaries.

The time commitment for students interested in signing up will be very manageable. There will be five sessions, each lasting around one and half hours, and the re- treat.

Each session will be offered twice, with the exact same format, so students need only attend the session that suits them better.

Baker began creating the program after suggestions from students who wanted to see some- thing like this.

“Last year, students approached me about their desire to form a student version of the Emissary program. I guess they were jealous,”he said.“The first two students at the table were now-graduated Christian Copper and current senior Mitchell Marsh. We put together a planning team last year comprised of employee Emissaries and interested students. We do not want this to be another obligation for busy students, or to be seen as a prerequisite for another organization. This is a program freely offered to any student who has grown to appreciate the Mercy tradition and wishes to deepen in that appreciation while connecting with peers and employees.”

Now all who are interested are being encouraged to apply.

The vision of the program is that it will strengthen student engagement in the Mercy heritage and charisms, as well as answer the question of “what can I do?” Baker said the program is intended to keep the university’s Catholic identity and social teaching alive by students who can em- brace it.

To date, 108 current employees have completed the Emissary program, with another 35 employees participating in this year’s cohort. The student program currently has 26 signups, and spaces ares till available. The link to sign up is on the Hub.

“This tradition is too precious and too central to our institutional identity for us to take it for granted or, even worse, to allow it to slip away as a meaningful part of everyday life,”Baker said.

“The Emissary program invites employees, and now students, to find a very meaningful connection to the Mercy tradition and its Catholic roots.”