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Xavier Magazine | May 29, 2017

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Alumni Profile: Active Organizer

Alumni Profile: Active Organizer
By Julie Irwin Zimmerman

Mike Moroski
Bachelor of Arts in English, 2001

Master of Arts in English, 2011
Director of Community Engagement, Community Matters
Cincinnati


Flipping For Good | After graduating with an English degree, Mike Moroski began taking students from Moeller High School to Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood to rehab, or flip, old buildings to create affordable housing. He became deeply enmeshed in reviving the impoverished neighborhood, even opening a non-profit coffee shop. He received Xavier’s Magis Award in 2011.

Moving On | While dean of student life at Purcell Marian High School, Moroski faced an ideological dispute over the issue of same-sex marriage and left the school. He ran for Cincinnati City Council and lost. All the while, he kept watch as Over-the-Rhine gentrified into a neighborhood of pricey restaurants and high-end housing.

Uphill Climb | Moroski turned his sights to the Lower Price Hill neighborhood two miles west of downtown, where he serves as director of community engagement and development at Community Matters. He also emerged as a leading figure in efforts to fight poverty in Cincinnati, serving on multiple boards and organizations.

Research Lab | Lower Price Hill provides an especially useful laboratory for community organizing. In this tiny community of less than 1,200 residents, about half live in poverty, and 40 percent of adults lack a high-school diploma. And the traditionally Appalachian neighborhood has seen an influx of Guatemalan residents.

Unlimited Potential | Moroski sees unlimited potential for Lower Price Hill. “The people in the neighborhood are so hardworking and so proud,” he says. “You can literally wrap your arms around Lower Price Hill, and you can empower the entire community to rebuild itself.”

Nerve Center | The nerve center of Lower Price Hill’s renewal efforts is the former St. Michael the Archangel Church and School, which closed in 1997 and now houses Community Matters and Education Matters, two non-profits dedicated to improving the neighborhood.

Renewal | A $10 million renovation by the two non-profits is creating a food pantry, thrift store, benefits resource center, co-op laundromat and a community space in the old sanctuary. It will also host students from Xavier and other schools for service-learning programs that immerse them in solutions to poverty. Such programs used to be held in Over-the-Rhine, before the pace of redevelopment there picked up.

Come Together | Morowski sees all his past and current work—education, community development, job creation and support for families—coming together in just a few city blocks. “There’s way more potential than obstacles,” he says.  JULIE IRWIN ZIMMERMAN

Comments

  1. By France Griggs Sloat

    Hello Xavier,

    I am a once-proud Xavier Alumnus from the class of 1984. I supported many fundraising efforts, including the annual fund, was a long-time member of the Businesses Mobilized for Xavier (BMX), and even a basketball season ticketholder for several years. My wife is also a Xavier grad. We want to be proud of our Xavier Jesuit education, but find that difficult now, because we hold our Catholic faith as highest priority and don’t see that same priority evident in Xavier’s philosophy. Over the years I have seen Xavier sacrifice Catholic values for secular pressures, when we most need to stand up for those values. Xavier has often invited speakers who support abortion, homosexual marriage and other ant-Catholic beliefs under the guise of open debate. And the magazine often highlights alumni who seem opposed to Catholic values.

    Many gray areas can be argued as good or bad for our society (minimum wage increases, government entitlements, environmental issues, capitalism, etc.). However, as Catholics, we believe there are five non-negotiable, intrinsic evils. Yet they rampant in our society today: 1) abortion, 2) euthanasia, 3) embryonic stem cell research, 4) human cloning, 5) homosexual marriage.

    Unfortunately many politicians, embrace most, if not all of them as good for society. So hopefully you’ll understand how disturbing it was for me to read about the Philosophy, Politics and the Public (PPP) honors program. Three of the highlight graduates went on to work for the most anti-Catholic values, pro-abortion politicians out there. Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama are very hostile to Catholic values. And Christopher Hale was actually highlighted in a recent article by Accuracy In Media as “Obama Operative Masquerades as Catholic Expert.” He worked for Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is supported by billionaire atheist George Soros, because it helps confuse Catholics into thinking the Democrats support Catholic values. I know many students are not Catholic, but does that mean we can’t allow Catholic values to influence our philosophy as good for society in general?

    Do Catholic values influence the philosophy of this PPP program? Isn’t that part of the mission, “Xavier is a Jesuit Catholic University rooted in the liberal arts tradition?” Is Jesuit Catholic, not also Roman Catholic? .

    Then I see the Alumni Profile of Mike Moroski, who seems to be doing great work restoring/rehabbing buildings in poor neighborhoods. Something I would love to do. However, you had to highlight that he Moved On from a good Catholic high school, because he supports same-sex marriage. Does that do anything to lift up Catholic values?

    Please accept my humble opinion here. I took the time to write this email, because I care about the future of Catholic higher education, especially at my Alma Mater. I see Notre Dame embracing President Obama with an honorary degree, Georgetown covering the sacred name of Jesus, LeMoyne College protesting Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Catholic colleges supporting LGBT causes, and on and on. As a faithful, God-loving, Catholic, I would love to see more greats stories of Catholic colleges supporting our Catholic values and highlighting graduates who embrace Catholic values in the world, saving souls for Christ, not leading them astray. Can we start with Xavier Magazine.

    Thanks & God bless your work.
    John Robben

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