02 Dec Southold Cultural Center presented a local phase of UNIV Congress 2017
“The university is a frontier that awaits you, a periphery where the existential poverty of humanity can be received and cured.” – Pope Francis (WYD Krakow 2016)
UNIV Congress, “a university meeting that ICU – Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria – has organized in Rome since 1968” (univcongress.info), aims to aid in the role of universities to prepare their students for this universal call to service described by Pope Francis. “The UNIV Congress is part of the international event in Rome that runs throughout Holy Week. Young university students from the five continents come together in the Eternal City, not only to dialogue and debate on the yearly theme of the UNIV Congress but also to have an enriching experience at the human, cultural, professional and spiritual level” (univcongress.info).
On Saturday, October 1, 2016, Southold Cultural Center presented a local phase of UNIV Congress 2017, A World in Movement, as preparation for students from South Bend and Chicago area universities who are interested in attending the UNIV Congress in Rome. The conference included a keynote address by Professor David O’Connor of the University of Notre Dame and the presentation and discussion of student works on the UNIV theme. Professor O’Connor spoke about the importance of intellectual studies being integrated into one’s growth as a person and how growth in the intellectual life is a duty one has towards society. The goal was to show students how their professional ambitions should be combined with a determination to serve through their profession.
As a past keynote speaker at the UNIV Congress in Rome, Professor O’Connor also elaborated on how UNIV broadens one’s cultural and intellectual horizons and why it is such a powerful experience for young scholars and young Catholic women. This address helped the young women planning to attend UNIV to be fully prepared to hear the ideas and realities of other young women from all over the world and be opened to broader understanding and sympathy for the problems and joys of today’s society.
The second part of the conference included undergraduate presentation of papers, followed by critiques from Professors Mary Keys and Gundi Mueller of the University of Notre Dame and Professor Peggy Garvey of Holy Cross College. Student presentations consisted of a video presentation titled “Unseen Junctions,” produced by Fiona Seoh (University of Virginia Class of 2019). The short video is “a call to arms against our solipsistic lifestyles and an urge to take time to engage as social human beings amidst the rat race” (Seoh).
Other papers presented included “The Impact of Unstable Residential Status on Mental Health of Immigrant Children,” by Maria VanBerkum (Neuroscience and Behavior, University of Notre Dame, Class of 2018); “Movement of Time: The Immortalization of Poetry” by Sarah Ortiz (Program of Liberal Studies, University of Notre Dame 2019), and “Hand-in-Hand: Exploring the Connections Between Partner Dance and Healthy Relationships” by Sophia Buono (Program of Liberal Studies, University of Notre Dame 2018). Sophia Buono commented, “Presenting at the local UNIV conference was a great honor and a lot of fun. The professors gave very constructive feedback about my research, and the group exchanged many insightful thoughts about this year’s theme. I am very much looking forward to finishing my presentation and traveling to Rome this spring!”
The conference concluded with a small group reading and discussion of an undergraduate paper on the use of dance therapy for patients with major depression (Healing through Movement: Dance/Movement Therapy for Major Depression. Isabella Pericleous, Columbia University). Once participant noted, “The UNIV conference in South Bend was informative and inspiring. I loved learning from my peers’ research and discussing their projects with them throughout the day. We had an excellent discussion on the theme of “A World in Movement” and its various manifestations in the Christian life, and it prompted me to think more deeply about the beauty, depth, and importance of this theme.”