It is nearly impossible to accurately determine the number of people that die attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. One method of doing so involves counting human remains in the desert which, from October 2000 to September 2014 in southern Arizona alone, was over 2,700. The causes of death are numerous but equally horrific: succumbing to heatstroke, dehydration, heart attacks, snakebites, or falling from cliffs, just to name a few. Additionally, it is likely that there are still hundreds of more remains buried in the desert, never to be found.
If the spirit of PULSE could be expressed in one statement, it would be Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” PULSE is a service-learning program that combines classwork with community service. With 55 community partners throughout Boston, students are given the opportunity to learn from people outside the classroom ranging from supervisors at non-profit agencies to marginalized populations in neighborhoods throughout the city. Until recently, however, Boston’s southern neighborhood of Mattapan, a name rarely uttered on campus, had been omitted from the services of PULSE.
This month’s Agape Latte talk featured one of BC’s best and brightest, David Manzo ’77. To those who have never interacted with Professor Manzo before, there is one point I cannot stress emphatically enough: call him Dave. Aside from teaching PULSE electives on campus, Dave holds other such impressive titles as President of the Cotting School – a private, non-profit school for children with special needs in Lexington. Founded in 1893, it is the oldest day school for children with disabilities in the country. Dave is also a former executive director and current board member of COMPASS (Community Providers of Adolescent Services), which provides services to at-risk youth and families in the Boston community.
What is service learning and why must it be defended? Many have come to view service at BC as something that has devolved into competition and résumé-building. As someone who has been involved with the PULSE program for three years, I can assure you that the true Jesuit-ideals of service and loving thy neighbor are very much intact at BC.