The Nature of Pope Francis

His mission of caring for the earth, protecting the poor and re-examining the world’s economic systems defines him as the Jesuit leader of a morally challenged world.

It also highlights how Xavier’s commitment to Jesuit education is being lived out through its pledge toward sustainability and environmental justice in the classroom, across campus and by its alumni worldwide.

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Students in Kathleen Smythe’s History of Agriculture class spend part of the semester working at local farms so they can experience what they’re studying. At one four-hour session last year, students planted more than 100 tomato plants.

“They later talked about the satisfaction of looking back and seeing the clear sign of their accomplishment, going from a set of empty rows to rows now filled with plants producing food (for others),” Smythe says.

There is a connection, she says. It has to do with the impact our actions have on others. Getting dirt under their fingernails helps students reconnect with America’s agrarian roots so they can appreciate the environmental impact involved in bringing mass-grown food products to the table versus growing it locally.

Addressing ethical issues of environmental sustainability on a global scale, while modeling it on a local scale, is just one example of how Xavier is incorporating a new way of living and thinking into the classroom. It’s the hallmark of a Jesuit education, one that has been made more visible since the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope. And, in his first two years, Francis has made it clear what his top priorities are: the poor and climate change. They have become, it seems, nearly interchangeable.

“This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.” —Pope Francis

Titled “Laudato Si’,” which means “Praise Be,” the pope’s encyclical on climate change brought renewed attention to the deteriorating conditions of the earth and its impact on the desperate needs of poor and marginalized populations of the world. As The New York Times explained when the encyclical was released in June: “The hardest-hit…will be the poorest citizens of the poorest countries, those least able to adapt to the rising seas and devastating droughts and floods that are likely to occur even in this century without swift remedial action.”

For Jesuit schools in particular, Francis’ universal call for a renewed focus on economic and environmental sustainability creates a heightened sense of purpose and reinforcement of what it means to be Jesuit—a clear lens through which universities and their students can view and experience the Jesuit way of life. It’s a tradition that from its founding in 1540 has been grounded in the value of education. Jesuit priests distinguished themselves from other orders by choosing to live among the people rather than isolating themselves in cloistered monasteries. They traveled the world seeking knowledge and God and became known as scientists and explorers.

Today’s Jesuits are still considered leaders in education, and their students are encouraged to go out and experience the world. At Xavier, Jesuit pedagogy is being lived out through the University’s commitment to sustainability both in the classroom and across campus. Five years before Pope Francis issued his call for a cleaner climate, Xavier was well on its way to creating a cleaner and more sustainable campus and educating students about how to carry that into their personal and professional lives. The pope’s visit to the U.S. highlights not only Xavier’s commitment to Jesuit education but to sustainability as well, an area where the University has emerged as a leader among Jesuit schools.

The University zeroed in on the environment when it held its second annual celebration of Francis’ election as pope last March and invited Xavier alumnus Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, as the keynote speaker. His message, says Xavier’s Chief Mission Officer Debra Mooney, echoed that of Francis: “It’s not only important to protect the earth because we are a part of it and we’re interrelated, but the degradation inadequately impacts the poor.” President Michael J. Graham, S.J., encapsulated the University’s commitment in 2011 when he said, “Our mission as a Jesuit, Catholic university cannot be fulfilled as such without an ongoing and ever-greater appropriation of sustainability across the entire horizon of University activities.”

 

[divider]SUSTAINABLE [/divider]Pope-Francis-Dove

Sustainability director Ann Dougherty was in the student cafeteria in 2013 the day that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit, was elected pope. She was watching the TV screen when he also announced he had taken the name of Francis, patron saint of animals and the earth.

“As a lifelong ecologist and steward of the environment, I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “This was going to be a different kind of pope. Taking the name Francis meant there was going to be a stewardship of the environment and a redefinition of what dominion means, and the Catholic Church would be part of healing the world.”

At the time, Dougherty had been at Xavier for two years working to help the entire
campus become more sustainable by adopting practices to reduce energy consumption and waste, and grow its own food.

“At Xavier, we think sustainability is part of the mission. Period,” she says.

For her, Pope Francis symbolized the work she’d dedicated her life to do—she’s now working in sustainability for a private company—and his “Laudato Si’,” which means “Praise Be,” affirmed that commitment.

“The Jesuits are the guys who study philosophy, theology, history, science and government, and put it all together,” she says. “As a people holding the world in their hearts looking beyond to what is real, they become sustainable individuals. If there is anyone who can lead the world to greater sustainability, it’s the Jesuit charism and the Ignatian process of reflection—of looking beyond what is apparent to what is real.”

As Dougherty was working on improving the physical environment at Xavier, professors Smythe, in history, and Nancy Bertaux, of economics, were focusing on the academic. They were part of a team that developed four undergraduate degrees in sustainability and environmental science plus a master’s in sustainability, led by former city planner Liz Blume, director of Xavier’s Community Building Institute.

Bertaux was nearly giddy when the encyclical was released, not just for what it says, but because it affirms how well Xavier has performed. Plus it reinforces the connection between ecological and moral issues with up-to-date science, economics and theology.

“He’s the world’s leading environmentalist at the moment, and what the encyclical says is we’re on the right track here with our programs and curriculum,” she says. “Taking ecology and economics core courses related to theology, history, English, statistics and economic theory are tools students need, but also the vision of the connectedness of everything—to see that the economy has to exist within society and society within nature overall, that we are a part of nature and what we do to nature we do to ourselves.”

It also reinforces what Xavier started working on five years ago.

“I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.” —Pope Francis

“We are absolutely the leader among Jesuit schools in terms of curriculum,” she says. “I don’t know anyone with the kind of interdisciplinary programs that we have.”

Bertaux also worked with Dougherty to create sustainability projects on campus that involve students enrolled in sustainability or environmental science courses. That includes students working on the Urban Farm, creating a water bottle reduction project, and conducting energy studies that have resulted in a nearly 7-percent reduction of energy use across campus.

“We have pioneered looking at sustainability across all the divisions and silos of the University and getting on one page,” Bertaux says. “We have put together a whole suite of interdisciplinary sustainability programs that are absolutely cutting edge.”

Sustainability practices have also contributed to a 30-percent reduction in waste. One of the most visible improvements is in the cafeteria, which was paying for food waste and cardboard to be hauled to the landfill when Dougherty arrived in 2011. Now there is almost zero waste to the landfill, the University collects cash for the recycled cardboard, and two food waste dehydrators dry all food scraps from the kitchen, producing a granular waste that is returned to the farm as compost. In return, fresh vegetables and produce are delivered to the cafeteria.

“The external deserts in the world are growing because the internal deserts have become so vast.” —Pope Francis

The process exemplifies an important concept in the encyclical, Smythe says. “Part of the encyclical is reconnecting people to the environment and recognizing we are not separate from it. He makes it clear we are stewards and caretakers of the earth, but we don’t have dominion over it…and as we are harming it, we are harming ourselves.”

 

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world-iStock_000001975805_LargeStudents at Xavier are introduced to the Jesuit side of their education from the day they first set foot on campus. Beginning with their orientation, they hear about “The Jesuit Way,” which increasingly includes elements of sustainability, the environment and the earth.

Faculty mentors work with new and veteran faculty to guide them in incorporating Ignatian pedagogy into their coursework. As a result, students learn about the ethical issues of the subjects they’re studying—like Smythe’s African history students, who discussed the ethics of sending cast-off American-made T-shirts to the African continent as waste. But the emphasis is also to learn through hands-on experience. For example, Smythe also had them make recommendations to the Congolese government about how to allow oil exploration in Birunga National Park and defend it to their people.

As director of the Center for Faith and Justice, Greg Carpinello works with students daily. His office serves about 1,200 students during the year by offering retreats, worship services, faith-sharing and prayer groups. He focuses on helping students discover their spirituality and the benefits of a Jesuit viewpoint.

“A Xavier education orients students toward something bigger than themselves, the realization they’re part of a world that’s internally connected and really crying out for their service and sense of vocation,” Carpinello says.

Which, like the encyclical, reflects on the early Jesuits “who were not the ones who stayed cloistered but were out with the people experiencing the gritty realities of the world and putting to the forefront the issues of humanity.”

That’s why Xavier encourages students to ask the big questions here so that when they leave, they’re inspired to lead lives that are not focused only on themselves.

“It’s no surprise Francis chose to write his encyclical on the environment, because the world is facing critical questions about the environment,” Carpinello says. “To be Jesuit is being on the frontier of what happens in the world.”

[Editor’s note: The original version of this story has been updated to include corrected references to reductions in energy use and waste produced on campus.]

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Getting a Big Break

Students gain more than they give on Alternative Breaks trips

To the “Where the Boys Are” generation, the words Anheuser Busch might first come to mind when associating spring break with the letters A and B. But since 2001, Alternative Breaks (or AB) has offered Xavier students a get-away that gives back and leaves a greater impression than just a nice tan.

A and B are also the initials of Amanda Burns, current chair of Xavier’s Alternative Breaks executive board. One of the more memorable benefits of her four-year association with AB has been the opportunity to make new acquaintances—even furry ones. In one case—bison. “There were bison in our camp site that chased us.”

The camp—Catalina Island, about 50 miles offshore from Los Angeles—is perhaps better known as an upscale vacation destination from the golden age of Hollywood. But it’s also the home of a 42,000-acre wilderness preserve. The official mission of this specific alternative break: conservation of eco-systems, trail maintenance and beach clean-up. In other words, a lot of hard work.

“There are bison on the island because they were brought in for a movie set and just left there,” she says. It happened in 1924, as these were props from a silent film, now left as a reminder of the impact careless actions can have on an ecosystem. “Bison can’t swim, they just roam the island.”  She does remember the adventure had a happy ending; “It just walked away”.

What shows no sign of going away any time soon is Xavier’s Alternative Breaks program. Now in its 14th year, AB has grown from about 30 students setting out on three impromptu-organized trips to 21 trips involving over 260 students.AltBreaks2

While the mission is lofty—“to empower and challenge all involved understanding the relationship with the global community through direct service, education, and reflection, while encouraging personal growth, social awareness, and active citizenship”—the reality is quite simple: Get out of your comfort zone and appreciate the experience.

Those experiences over the years are as varied as humanity and often not as pleasant as communing with nature—gang prevention, immigration and poverty—in locations from Cincinnati to the Ukraine. AB has also been a robustly independent organization, entirely student-run. In 2007, staff and faculty members joined the trips to comply with Xavier’s risk management and insurance. These non-students are officially considered “trip participants,” while the team is led by two trained students.

“We take a lot of pride in being entirely student-run,” Burns says. Bringing professors along for spring break seemed a bit counter-intuitive in the beginning, but it has slowly evolved into an additional resource and may even lead to the addition of an academic component some day.

“We’re still trying to figure out how that dynamic would fit into coursework and academic credit,” Burns says.

So while the challenges an alternative breaker faces can be daunting, they are probably statistically safer than the traditional Daytona Beach bacchanal.

“We have had some unfortunate encounters between hammers and thumbs while working,” she recalls.

But bumps, bruises and bison aside, this alternative version of spring break may not be all about a week at the beach, but students do return changed in ways they least expected. It’s also not all about “doing good” but learning to appreciate that life is lived at many levels. And what surprised Burns the most in her four years of Alternative Breaks was helping herself along the way.

“It’s not necessarily that I’m going to go help you, but I needed to change the way I was,” she says.

Visit Xavier’s Alternative Breaks page to view more photos and learn more about the program.

Dr. Double Duty

It takes intellectual guts to go after your PhD. To get your MD, it takes a lot of spunk. To go after both is, well, crazy.

But for 2014 graduate and Fr. Finn Award recipient Michael Petrany, it made all the sense in the world. Especially when he learned he was being awarded a fellowship that covers the entire cost of both his PhD and MD programs and gives him enough money to live on for the duration. It’s called the Whitsett Fellowship, and he’s its first recipient.

The fellowship is named after Jeffrey Whitsett, a physician and professor at the University of Cincinnati and a world leader in pediatric research. Its goal is to develop and promote physician scientists to be leaders in both research and hospital settings.

The fellowship supports students for the entire time they are working on their dual degrees in the Medical Scientist Training Program. Petrany, from Huntington, W.Va., began his journey at the University of Cincinnati Medical School at the end of August with the aid of the fellowship. He was inspired to apply after working for two years in a lab with researchers and doctors at Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “I always loved science and I had a real passion for scientific investigation and learning new things,” Petrany says. “But I always wanted to find a way to ground that in service for others.”

The path to a PhD and an MD is long—seven to eight years. There’s two years of traditional medical school, then three to four years of PhD research. The program ends with two years of medical residencies and clinical rotations.

“It’s a challenge,” Petrany says. “You’re learning the language of science and clinical medicine. And you’re responsible ultimately to help bridge the gap between those two things.”

Greener Pastures

_DSC0002Urban Sustainability is one of Xavier’s newest graduate programs

Wanting to take his career as an environmental consultant in a more serious direction, Brian Higgins shopped around the Midwest for a degree program that had all the elements he needed—an interdisciplinary approach that would blend his different interests, and a network that would lead to a good job.

He found both with the Master of Arts in Urban Sustainability and Resilience, one of eight new graduate-level degree programs Xavier is introducing in 2014 and 2015. It didn’t matter that he and his wife lived in Greensboro, N.C. He arrived in time to join the first cohort last fall. Before the first semester had ended, however, he not only had his summer internship lined up with a dairy partnership, but a full-time job offer as well.

“It’s fantastic,” Higgins says. “I was fully expecting to go through two years and then look at opportunities that presented themselves, but who am I to turn down an opportunity that presents itself and continue my education at the same time?”

For students like Higgins, such educational programs offer a chance to keep up with changing career fields—and even come out on top.

“These are areas where people can continue to expand their professional development or enter into new fields of growth,” says Roger Bosse, director for graduate services. “We’re responding to changes in society and trying to bring the quality of our education into these budding fields.”

Both Sustainability and the Doctor of Educational Leadership got underway last fall. The others are being rolled out in 2015. They meet Xavier’s long-term goal of strengthening the quality of its academic offerings by expanding learning opportunities for graduate students.

Those new opportunities are what attracted Higgins, who as a landscape architect and environmental consultant has a background in the environmental and sustainability fields. In one of his first classes last fall, Kroger’s head of sustainability came in as a guest lecturer. They struck up a conversation, and she ended up recommending him for the internship.

By January, he was juggling business trips with schoolwork. He’s managing a pilot project for a dairy trade group and Kroger, creating a partnership with a dairy farm that uses an anaerobic digester to recycle waste. These machines are already in use processing manure into methane gas and usable products. The project involves adding food waste to the mix and transforming it into even better products—fertilizer, compost, garden products and methane gas to be converted into a form to power vehicles.

“My job is to focus on developing an initial pilot project with Kroger and then see where the partnership between Kroger and the dairy makes sense, because Kroger has an interest in reducing food waste in the landfill,” Higgins says.

Higgins’ early success is music to Liz Blume’s ears. As coordinator of the Sustainability program, she says Xavier responded to a growing interest in sustainability among businesses, non-profits and government and created a program “that prepares sustainability professionals with the skills to create integrated solutions to environmental issues.”

Xavier’s is the only sustainability program in the region that is cross-disciplinary, bringing together the fields of urban studies, business and the hard environmental sciences. Courses cover urban systems, urban history and ecology, politics, land use, statistics, economics, geographical mapping, communications, business management and philosophy.

The two-year program is designed to attract people from those various fields who will then benefit from each other’s expertise. The first class of five students will finish in spring 2016, but Blume thinks she’ll have around 10 new students enrolling this fall as word of the program spreads.

“Every corporation in America wants to create a green bottom line, which means delivering products more cheaply and in a way that does less damage to the environment,” Blume says. “They need smart people who know how to do those things, and our grads are those people.”

A Step in Time

Chanessa Fant was a wide-eyed middle-schooler when she first stepped into stepping.

She was enthralled by the unusual form of percussion that uses the body like a drum to create rhythmic beats. Feet, hands, arms, legs, chest—all have a role to play. It was a love she fostered through high school, but when she came to Xavier in 2010, her stepping came to a stop. Xavier didn’t have a step team.

So she decided to start one. She began collecting signatures in her sophomore year, forming bylaws, writing a constitution and seeking approval from the Student Government Association. By October 2011, Fant’s dream became a reality with the creation of the Blue Fire Step Team, and for the past two years the team has slapped, clapped and stomped into a tightknit group. 

“We became a small little family,” Fant says. 

The team now performs in competitions, both on campus and off. This spring it performed in Know Your RHole: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, an art, fashion and step show honoring Earth Day sponsored by Sigma Gamma Rho. 

The team also uses its creative blend to serve others. For instance, it went to the Boy’s and Girls Club in Cincinnati and taught the children how to step before bringing them onto campus and preforming a show together. 

It was Fant’s chance to inspire wide-eyed middle-schoolers—and bring her story full circle.      

Off the Field: Students of Service

landynFans are still filing out of the Cintas Center after watching Xavier beat Providence as Landyn rolls his wheelchair out onto the court.

His brother and sister grab basketballs and start tossing them wildly toward the basket that towers several feet above them. Inspired by their efforts, Landyn steps out of the wheelchair and joins the fun. It’s a struggle.

The 6-year-old has spina bifida, a degenerative spinal disorder that makes it difficult for him to walk, much less play basketball. 

As he works on his game, Matt Stainbrook, Xavier’s 6-foot-10 starting center, walks out onto the court, still in uniform, and offers him a little help. He lifts Landyn onto his shoulders and turns toward the basket. With the new height advantage, Landyn easily scores.

Landyn was brought to the game by SAAC, Xavier’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council, as part of a fundraising effort to send him to Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each year for the past three years SAAC has singled out an individual to help go on a Make-A-Wish trip. 

Three years ago it raised about $1,000 to send a boy to Disney World. Last year it raised roughly $2,100 to send a boy to the Bahamas to swim with the dolphins. And this year through raffles, donation tables and general awareness, it raised more than $5,000 for Landyn and his family.

Although each of Xavier’s 18 sports teams always holds at least one community service project each semester, a resuscitation of SAAC three years ago ramped up the amount and level of community service performed by Xavier’s teams. As part of his hiring, Erik Alanson was asked to turn SAAC into something more than an organization on paper. He recruited soccer player Andy Kaplan and golfer Ariel McNair to represent and organize Xavier’s 300-plus student-athletes. Their goal was threefold: 

One, to represent Xavier’s student-athletes at the conference and national levels. The NCAA, for instance, asks for input from student-athletes whenever it is considering policy changes. 

Two, to take student-athlete concerns to the administration. Some professors, for instance, have a zero-tolerance policy about missing a class, which is not a possibility for student-athletes due to their extensive travel schedules. 

“I know saying we represent the interest of student-athletes sounds a bit entitled,” says Kaplan, “but it really is a huge group of people working full-time jobs and going to school.” Xavier’s 300-plus student-athletes represent about 7 percent of the overall undergraduate population.

And, three, to increase the level of community service. The group opens up its monthly meetings—which can’t take place until around 9:00 p.m. because that’s the first time during the day when none of the teams are practicing or committed to another activity—to ideas. Helping Make-A-Wish was one idea. All teams are now involved with mentoring and tutoring at the Academy of World Languages. In November, an idea was brought up for a canned food drive for St. Vincent DePaul. More than 1,000 cans were collected.

“That’s one of the best things about this—you have 300 Type-A competitive people involved trying to out-do each other,” says Kaplan. “When Ariel and I started, we did everything. We struggled to get people from each team to the meetings. Now we don’t have enough room.”

What’s even better, says Alanson, is that not only has SAAC grown, it now has grown to include specifically designed roles and responsibilities, which gives student-athletes job-specific experience they couldn’t get otherwise.

“We didn’t want SAAC to simply be a bullet point on a résumé,” says Alanson. “It’s much more intentional. All of these student-athletes are going to have to compete for a position of employment after they graduate, but being a student-athlete works against them. Traditional students have time for internships; student-athletes don’t. So we asked: What are some of the things SAAC can do that can give them experiences that is applicable to the real world?”

“As much as I’d love to get an internship with Procter and Gamble, that’s just not realistic,” says Erin McGualey, a sophomore soccer player who’s co-president of SAAC this year with Stainbrook. “Time really is the biggest issue with student-athletes.”

“It really does turn it into an internship,” says Adi Taraska, SAAC’s community service manager.

Art majors, for instance, are put in charge of all design work. Public relations majors handle press releases and social media. Communication arts majors are in charge of SAAC’s next project—the remaking of a video that shows new student-athletes what it means to be a Xavier student-athlete and what kind of commitment they have made.

In the end, unlike their games, everybody wins: The student-athletes get valuable experience, the community gets support—and a 6-year-old boy with spina bifida gets to go to Disney World.

The Circle of Life: Women and Business in Africa

Josephine Lando began making dresses in high school. It was a hobby at first, but soon her friends began asking her to make them dresses, too. By the time she finished boarding school and returned to her home in Rongai, Kenya, she was making more than dresses on demand. She was making money. It wasn’t a lot, but it whet her appetite for business.

Lando already knew something about business. Her mother had a small business making chapati, the traditional bread in Kenya. She used to get up early to help her mother prepare the bread so she could sell it to office workers who took it with their tea. Later, Lando realized her mother was paying more for the flour and other supplies for her bread but was reluctant to raise her own prices.

She saw how hard it was to make money with a small business. She wanted to learn not just how to do it right, but also how to help other women learn how to succeed with their small businesses. But to do that would require education. And that wouldn’t be easy.

Enter the Zawadi Africa Education Fund, a scholarship program that sends bright, disadvantaged Kenyan women to college. Lando applied to several colleges and picked Xavier. As an international undergraduate business student majoring in accounting, everything was going well. She was on target to graduate in December 2014, and she was chosen to be a Brueggeman Fellow, a prestigious honor that would allow her to study the empowerment of women business owners.

But that’s when things started to turn. Already supplementing her Xavier scholarship with loans and a work-study job, she found herself struggling even more when aid from a family friend dried up. Suddenly, her enrollment and Brueggeman Fellowship were in jeopardy.

That’s when things started to turn again. As a resident assistant in the Commons Apartments, she often saw University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., when he passed her office on his way to his apartment. One day last spring he stopped in and asked what she was working on. She told him of her Brueggeman project and her financial troubles. Graham suggested she contact Susan Mboya, a Kenyan businesswoman at Procter and Gamble who founded the scholarship program that sent Lando to Xavier.

Now with Coca-Cola, Mboya heads up a program that works to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs in developing countries by 2020 with training, finances and networking. Called 5by20, the program dovetails neatly with Lando’s goal of helping women with their businesses.

Graham emailed her, and Mboya became so interested in Lando’s project that, in April she awarded her an internship with the 5by20 program in Nairobi, about 20 miles north of Rongai, her home town. At the same time, Lando learned she won the annual Antonio Johnson Scholarship Award at Xavier, which provides full tuition for her senior year.

Lando went back home to Kenya for her 10-week summer internship where she gathered data about women entrepreneurs, studied their businesses and taught them the basics of accounting, bookkeeping and business planning. For her project, she created a handbook of business practices to help women manage their small businesses.

At first, she complained about the long ride between Nairobi and Rongai—the traffic congestion, the hours on the bus, the crowded roads. Soon she reveled in the trip because the road is lined with women selling everything—water, fruit, chapatti, even dresses.

“Seeing this motivates me to create something that will be beneficial to them,” she says. “When I see a woman sitting by the road or in the market selling fruits, I see her taking her children to school with the money she gets. I see smart children growing up healthy, with a good education and learning the value of investing back into their communities. I see the cycle continuing.”

The Physic of Getting Hammered

For a physics major, finding the moment of inertia for a cylinder is as easy as I=1/2 MR2, but what about the concept of righty-tighty/lefty loosey?

Physicists are famous for having heads wrapped around theories, but it’s been laboratory technician Dennis Tierney’s task to make sure they keep their feet planted on the ground, or at least on the floor of the Department of Physics’ machine shop, by fabricating a hammer as part of their Xavier experience.

XUXU3547“If it’s not on a computer, or connected to a Bluetooth, most students today aren’t interested,” says Tierney. “And it is important that even a physics major knows which way to turn a screwdriver because sooner or later a physicist will probably have to work with a machinist. And many of our students have never had a shop class because they were too busy taking AP physics. But even if they never pick up another screwdriver, they at least have some vague idea what it takes to set up the machines used in an experiment.”

Two at a time, students report to Tierney’s shop and learn the basics—and a typical 4H project this isn’t. The proper-sized drill bit, proper tolerances, correct tap size, thread pitch and more, are all based on a blueprint and specifications of .003 of an inch in all dimensions.

The project takes eight to 12 hours of lab time. Tierney, final arbiter as to whether the finished hammer passes muster, offers them this advice: “Pay attention to detail, watch what you’re doing and you’ll save a lot of time down the road. And that’s true with everything else you do in life, too.”

Freshmen learn CPR

The day after the record class of 1,282 first-year students arrived on campus, they got their first lesson—and it was a valuable one they can take with them the rest of their lives.

Xavier Has A Heart, a student-run organization, trained every new student how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED). The lessons were taught under the direction of Dr. Edmond Hooker, an emergency physician and faculty member in the Department of Health Services Administration. In the last few years, the American Heart Association has promoted compression-only CPR since many bystanders are reluctant to perform CPR because it used to require mouth-to-mouth breathing. The elimination of the mouth-to-mouth breathing increases the likelihood of a patient in cardiac arrest receiving CPR. Everyone can be easily trained in compression-only CPR, Hooker said, noting that “you cannot do anything but good with compression-only CPR. The person has very little chance of survival without CPR, and any CPR is better than nothing.”