On January 27th, the Philosophy, Politics, and the Public program held their annual retreat for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. To kick off the event, the students got into small groups and began a discussion of what words describe PPP to them, words like “active, practical, interdisciplinary, engaged, thoughtful, philosophical, political, flexible, and exploratory.” One group described PPP as creating “passionate, principled, public intellectuals,” while another stressed the ability of PPP to develop a set of skills such as critical thinking and effective communication while giving the students the room to take the coursework down different paths that reflect their varying interests. After the students had opened up and started thinking about what the program means to them, Dr. Colella gave a history of the program and how it has developed over the years.
The second speaker of the night, Brendon Cull (Director of Government Affairs and Regulatory Affairs at Kroger), spoke to the students about his experience after leaving Xavier in finding a job and uniting his passions with his career. Through his discussion on the importance of taking risks and being deliberate about one’s career, Brendon encouraged the students to be open to new opportunities and seek out what they are looking for. Small groups allowed each class to have discussions about how to unite one’s passions, skills, and the needs of the community in the midst of a tough economy and student debt.
The second day of the retreat built on the momentum from the first day and continued with a skills assessment from Xavier Career Services for the sophomores and a discernment workshop for the juniors and seniors. PPP alumni Erin McDermott (2007) spoke to the students about her career path since Xavier, and she was later joined by alumni Betsy Hoover (2006), Liz Colombo (2008), Jenny Rulon (2009), Kate Malone (2010), Caroline Solis (2011), Ashley Patrick (2011), Joey Vitale (2011) to speak to the students in panels about their experiences. The retreat also included events such as the senior awards, roast of the seniors by juniors, roast of the faculty by the seniors, and the alumni reception, which all encouraged a sense of community among the attendees.
Thanks to Dr. Beaupre, Dr. Colella, Angela Gray, Karen Weist, Brendon Cull, and PPP alumni Kat Ryder, Erin McDermott, Betsy Hoover, Liz Colombo, Jenny Rulon, Kate Malone, Caroline Solis, Ashley Patrick, Joey Vitale, Kandyce Carter-Flaherty, Heather Chura, Esther Cleary, Andrew Cleves, Carrie Gilbert, Greg Koehler, Alyssa Konermann, Joe Lehnert, Mark Manning, and Caitlin Podbielski for taking the time to be at the retreat and help make it such a great experience for the undergraduates.