Xavier Celebrates Endings and Beginnings

January 12, 2010

As Xavier’s Hoff Academic Quadrangle continues to take shape along Dana and Ledgewood Avenues in Evanston, the seven final residences on Herald and Ledgewood Avenues will prepare for February demolition. They will make way for a new student residence hall and dining facility approved by Xavier’s Board of Trustees at its December, 2009 meeting.

The offices of Residence Life, Mission & Identity, Student Publications, and the Bellarmine Parish Center on Ledgewood and the Loyola House and the Dorothy Day House on Herald, former residences converted to Xavier offices over the years, will be vacated over the next few weeks so demolition abatement can begin.
Loyola House at 1617 Herald, which houses Campus Ministry, invites everyone to a free farewell open house on January 23, with opportunities to share stories and commemorate experiences. A special prayer experience will be held from 2:30-3:00. Snacks will be provided.
Also on January 23 from 3-6 pm, Peace & Justice Programs will hold a commemoration event at the Dorothy Day House next door at 1619 Herald Avenue for current students, alumni and friends of the office.  Dorothy Day, born in 1897, was the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, best known for houses of hospitality located in depressed urban areas. Food, clothing, shelter and welcome are offered by volunteers to those in need as each household can manage. As home of Xavier’s Peace and Justice Programs for nearly 20 years, the Dorothy Day House has served as a center where students can learn, act and reflect on social justice issues.
During the commemoration event, visitors will be able to wander through the rooms of the house and view scrapbooks, photo albums, program flyers, a slideshow and other memorabilia from the history of the house. Visitors will be able to express gratitude and memories on one of the walls of the house – a wall of expression – which will be photographed and preserved. A bust of Dorothy Day will be available to “pose” for photos with visitors. At around 4:00 Dave Johnson, current director of Peace & Justice programs, will offer words of welcome and a chance for community reflection. A watercolor of the house, painted by area resident Peter Moreno, will be unveiled and will be displayed in the new offices. At around 4:30, visitors will be able to enter a drawing to win select mementos from the house – crosses, a wooden name sign, plaques and wall hangings that they may remember from their time at the House.  Alumni who cannot make it to the event are encouraged to email their memories to Molly Robertshaw, assistant director of Peace & Justice Programs, at RobertshawM@xavier.edu
The community that Peace & Justice Programs has fostered while at the Dorothy Day House will make its new home in the Gallagher Student Center. “It is important for each of us to carry the community that the house has enabled to our new space where the same social analysis, reflection and action will continue,” says Robertshaw.  Many people active and prominent in the local and national social justice field either got their first spark at Xavier’s Dorothy Day House or their flame was fed there.   Upcoming activities of Peace & Justice Programs continue this semester, including the March for Life in Washington, D.C., Community Action Day, Summer Service Internships, and 22 different Alternative Breaks experiences.  The Just Off Victory Community Garden begun last year will find a new, larger home in the coming months.
“There is a commitment to ensure that we remain at the center of student life and have the characteristics necessary for us to continue doing that which is most central to our work of building community,” says Dave Johnson, director of Peace and Justice Programs.  “The three key ingredients to three decades of success have been the people, the commitments and the community.  When we move, we will bring all three with us.”