WAUKESHA, WIS.— College is a time for young adults to contemplate “Who am I?” and seek a purpose outside themselves. This purpose – vocation – is a sense of calling developed through a lifelong process of discernment. Each year, a retreat for Carroll University sophomores is sponsored by the Spiritual Life Advisory Board, which helps students Create a Life of Meaning (CALM).
A two-year, $50,000 program development grant from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) will help expand the focus of Carroll’s CALM retreat to include complementary explorations of “Why am I here?” and “What do I love?” NetVUE provides such grants with the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc. through the Council of Independent Colleges.
“The NetVUE program development grant will provide funding for the Spiritual Life Advisory Board to expand its efforts by supporting students to reinforce cross-cultural communication skills, create opportunities for personal reflection and introduce a vocabulary of vocation across campus,” said Douglas Hastad, Carroll president.
Established in 2011, the current format of the CALM overnight retreat includes a variety of workshops that help students explore their strengths, values and sense of calling. Mentors share their efforts to develop lives of purpose. Faculty and other volunteers teach calming practices such as meditation, yoga and artistic expression as ways to help students listen for their own sense of calling.
Carroll can now develop a series of programs that span the academic year to reach more undergraduates, including students without a traditional religious background. Funding also will help faculty, staff and community members explore vocational discernment practices and vocabulary, in order to become better role models for students.
Dr. Kimberly Redding, associate professor of history, co-chairs the Spiritual Life Advisory Board, conceptualized and co-leads the CALM retreat, and is the project leader for this CALM expansion initiative. She said, “The deans, director of General Education, provost and president have all demonstrated enthusiastic support for initiatives that blend classroom learning, real world experience and principled personal development. Such integrative work forms the core of vocational discernment – and grounds the meaning-filled lives envisioned by Carroll’s past and present leaders.”
Carroll University is one of only 36 campuses nationwide to receive support from CIC, NetVUE and Lilly Endowment Inc., and is one of the 176 members of NetVUE, a nationwide network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students.