Every October, St. Edward’s University celebrates its Holy Cross Heritage with Founders Week, which honors Father Edward Sorin, CSC and all members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. The week focuses on engaging students with the university’s Holy Cross mission and celebrating the founding of the university. Brother Larry Atkinson C.S.C., Assistant Director at Campus Ministry, has worked since this summer planning for the week ahead.
This year will be the Brother’s 18th year with St. Edward’s University and his 18th year planning the series of events. According to Atkinson, Founder’s Week, “gives respect to the founders while educating students on our history.”
Founder’s Week, according to Josue Damian-Martinez, Peer Minister for Social Justice, “is important because it is a time that brings the Brothers and administration together to celebrate the vibrant history of this campus.”
Founder’s Week continues to be one of the longest-standing traditions of the university, which focuses on developing a greater sense of tradition and heritage.
“Every university has it’s unique culture, and tradition allows us to bring that culture to light,” Damian-Martinez said.
Students explore the Holy Cross tradition from orientation, student life and campus ministry events.
“I hope that they get a sense of the presence of Holy Cross. Not only of the past but the present and their participation in the mission,” Atkinson said. “Because it’s community and everyone yearns for a sense of belonging to a community. Starting with family, and that’s what people will say attracts them the most about St. Edward’s is that sense of community that they feel.”
Traditions such as the mass at The Grotto, the rosary with the Holy Cross Brothers and the Brothers challenge have been consistent every Founders Week. However, this year’s 6th Annual Bothers Challenge will also introduce a collaboration with Campus Recreation.
“These founders week activities help create that sense of community both the spiritual sense – with the mass, rosary and Brothers – but also the current, fun collegiate activities,” Atkinson said.
“Campus Recreation is an invaluable partner in the Brother’s Challenge and the Brother’s themselves come out and interact with the students,” Atkinson said. “It’s a nice collaboration with the Brothers, Campus Ministry and Campus Recreation.”
Founders Week helps to cultivate the sense community through connecting students under the Holy Cross mission year after year. Building on this community, connects students beyond their time, “we need to build on traditions and that not only to celebrate them but to make them better for future celebrations, It gives people a better sense of rootedness,” says Brother Larry. “It’s not just a place where you pass through, it’s a place that becomes a part of you.”
“Since I’ve been here, there is a growing sense of Holy Cross tradition, commitment, and understanding not only from the administrators and faculty but from the students and student leaders themselves,” Atkinson said.
Beyond Founders Week, the Founders Day Service Project is held a week after on Saturday, Oct. 28. “The Founders week service project caps it off with giving back” Brother Larry said. “We celebrate our community on campus and then we give back to our community off campus.”