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Campus Ministry

These Student Houses Stand Out for More Than Their Overly Big Dinner Tables

Finding yourself, your circle of friends and your faith. Those may be among the unknowns starting your college experience. But with University of Dayton Marianist Student Communities, you can find all three in a supportive environment.

In UD's Marianist Student Communities, students pray together, eat meals together, share Marianist community with neighbors, and are involved in Campus Ministry or other faith formation activities.

The communities are based in the Marianist tradition that a person’s faith does not grow in isolation but needs support and interaction with others. Community life is integral to our students' University of Dayton experience.

This tradition comes straight from the Marianist order’s founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, a French priest who believed the best way to rebuild the church after the French Revolution was through small faith communities dedicated to prayer, education and service to the larger community.

Since the late 1990s, Marianist Student Communities have been living this tradition. The communities began when Marianist brothers moved out of one of the campus homes where they had been living and some students asked if they could live in that house and other campus houses to carry on the Marianist spirit. This idea grew into the current organized format, which also provides mentors for guidance.

Morgan Day '20 lived in a Marianist Student Community her senior year. Day said she and a group of friends “wanted to live in a more intentional way than just roommates.” She described the living situation as “making a commitment with people to show up for one another and pray with one another about highs and lows.”

Claire Evans '21, the 19th person in her extended family to go to the University of Dayton, followed her parents, older siblings and cousins to UD. She knew about the communities and felt they would be a good fit because her family always has integrated faith with everything they do.

“I was attracted to the idea of an intentional community that would have a meal together, pray together, go to events together and be present to each other’s needs versus being with random people in a random house. This helps us be more integrated into each other’s lives and forces us to reflect on the struggles and joys connected with our faith. It’s so cool,” said Evans, who lived in a Marianist Student Community for two years. 

In Evans' house, they would have Sunday brunch together and pray with each other on Monday nights. During the week they would check up on each other, too.

Outside of activities in the individual residences, the communities meet to discuss their faith, sometimes with a guest speaker. Other events focus on self-care, like providing resources for students and making stress balls.

Evans added another benefit to living in Marianist Student Communities is having a built-in support network in difficult times, such as a pandemic.

Looking at things through the lens of the pandemic makes you see what is really important, she said, noting that she and her housemates and students in other communities talk about this all the time.

“We are all on the same page," she said. "We’re not alone in figuring out how to be students in a pandemic."

As a Catholic, Marianist university, we aim to educate students for adaptation and change. Whether in times of joy or sorrow, students in UD's Marianist Student Communities live the Marianist mission, foster faith and build community.

Portions of this story are adapted from the Catholic News Service story "In pandemic, Catholic college students still build community, do outreach" that ran Dec. 3, 2020.

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