The Catholic University of America

May 17, 2010

Post-College Life to Begin with Service for 26 CUA Graduates

  Matthew Aujero spends time with a child on a mission trip to Belize.
  Matthew Aujero spends time with a child on a mission trip to Belize.

“We are all called to service,” says Matthew Aujero, a 2010 CUA graduate who has committed to spending at least the next year working for Franciscorp in San Jose, Costa Rica.

But as he watches his friends and classmates preparing for jobs as nurses, teachers and other professionals, the student from Durham, N.C., says, “There’s nothing special about me going to Costa Rica. There are so many opportunities for service” whether they are volunteering overseas or working in a school or hospital in D.C., he says.

At the Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, May 14, the CUA community recognized and prayed for Aujero and eight other seniors who have committed to at least one year of service following graduation. CUA also recognized nine men who will enter the priesthood and eight young men and women who plan to join the military.

These 26 young people are proof of a continuing commitment among CUA students to serve others, a movement that has grown steadily over the 12 years since Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., became president, says Emmjolee Mendoza Waters, associate campus minister for community service.

“Service is becoming more of a culture and more common vocabulary to our students,” she says. “I think that given the pressure to go to grad school or get a job right out of college, our students who pursue long-term service are even more committed today.”

A business management major, Aujero says his year of service is a good opportunity to give back to the world while he decides what the next step in his life should be.

“The year after graduation is such a formative year for finding out what we want to do,” Aujero recalls hearing from Mendoza Waters.

Aujero will work at a Catholic high school as a service project coordinator, helping to run an after-school club that was created by 2008 CUA graduate Liz Bonnor. The club members will visit the elderly, tutor students and work on service projects involving construction.

Aujero was inspired to participate in long-term service by several CUA friends who have committed to volunteering after graduation in past years.

“But what confirmed it,” he says, “was Mission Belize. I knew I wanted to be there [in Latin America] for a longer time.”

Aujero participated in Campus Ministry mission trips to Belize the past two summers. He says he developed a love for Latin American culture and realized he wanted to live and work in a Hispanic community.

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