Christendom’s education prepares students for a lifelong love of learning, as well as an acute ability to take what they have learned in class and help communicate that Truth to the world to help restore the culture. In early November, a group of nearly forty Christendom students drove to South Bend, Indiana, to learn from some of today’s best thinkers on how to accomplish that goal during the annual Culture and Ethics conference hosted at the University of Notre Dame.
The college’s political science department has been recommending its students attend this conference for the past number of years. This year, seniors Tamlyn Sheng and Benjamin Marsh organized the trip with the assistance of political science professors Dr. Bracy Bersnak and Dr. Joseph Brutto. This year’s conference highlighted the work and life of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who observed that modern life without God “has become a harrowing prospect indeed.” The 2018 theme, “Higher Powers,” invited attendees to consider the proper relationship between God, the human person, and the state in our modern world.
“The conference was an awesome experience,” said junior Katarina Federici. “There are so many amazing Catholic thinkers out there, and I was so privileged to hear their ideas. My Christendom education helped tremendously in being able to understand their views.”
Student interest has increased dramatically since the first year that students attended the conference, as attendees have spread the word among their peers. Students from a variety of disciplines have found the conference a great way to engage in the problems facing modern culture, while meeting other young Catholics with similar worldviews. The engaging speakers and networking opportunities have attracted more Christendom students each year, and this year, Christendom College had the largest group in attendance, aside from the Notre Dame students.
Attending the conference brought home the impact that Catholic intellectuals can make in the modern world. Christendom is not the destination, but the training ground for life. The college’s rigorous academics prepare students to willingly seek opportunities for lifelong learning and ways to positively impact whatever field they pursue after college. This inspiration has kept students coming back year after year.
“Each year, the center of culture and ethics has offered undergraduates opportunities to meet and engage with some of the top thinkers in academia,” said trip organizer Tamlyn Sheng. “The first time I visited the center of culture and ethics was during my freshman year. I have been blessed to attend three times, and every year I am thankful for the unique experience. The fall conference has something to offer to everyone and I am glad that this year we were able to bring a record number of students.”
The fact that Christendom students freely choose to attend an academic conference outside of class shows their dedication to positively impacting the future. The conference offers students a vision how they can serve the Church and the world in the years to come. While other college students may be content to use their weekend to catch up on sleep, Christendom students are already seeking the knowledge necessary to build up a culture of virtue.
As Ignat Solzehnitsyn mentioned in his talk, those who wish to change the world cannot simply close their eyes and hope everything will be alright. Rather, tomorrow’s leaders need to speak out in politics, medicine, science, and literature. Christendom’s annual trip to the Notre Dame conference gives students the impetus to aim higher, putting their Faith and liberal arts education into action.
Special to Christendom College by contributing author Riley Damitz ’20.