August 12, 2011

AT Student Represents SLU at White House Event

A Special Way to Wrap Up a Busy Summer!
By: Adriana Black, MAT Class of 2013

There was only a week left of my 10 week summer session, which included Gross Anatomy and Principles of Athletic Training. At the time all I was thinking, eating and breathing was Gross Anatomy, because it is a rigorous course and was my only final exam remaining. One day after lab, I got a phone call asking me if I wanted to go to the White House. I was thrown-off base and just dismissed it and told them I would think about it and let them know. However, the White House needed to know by later that afternoon. I got home, checked my schedule, talked to my parents, and verified my trip with SLU’s administration. With anatomy being the only thing on my mind, I did not really have a chance to think about this impromptu trip to DC. 

Adriana Black and Leah Sweetman in front of White House.
As Saint Louis University’s Diversity Leadership Cabinet (DLC) Chair, a committee under the Student Government Association (SGA), I was appointed as the student representative for President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge ( Essentially, this is a nationwide call to service. The challenge is to create a more connected, pluralistic society.  It plans to bend society towards compassion and social justice.  The initiative is sponsored by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Department of Education, Interfaith Youth Core, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.  We may not all believe the same things, but it should not matter.  We are all making a difference.  Interfaith service is what we do as Americans.  The United States has more volunteers through faith-based organizations than any other kind of organizations in the nation.

The visit to DC was an exciting opportunity.
With anatomy over and a couple days to decompress, I was on a plane to DC with SLU staff and faculty member, Leah Sweetman. Both of us a bit hesitant and not truly knowing what to expect, made it to DC the evening before the launch of this initiative. Tired, but eager, Leah and I got to the hotel and attempted to sleep early as our agenda was filled for the entire next day. 

Adriana with Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core. 
The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge White House convening, was held in the White House and at the George Washington University on August, 3rd, 2011. It was a whole-day event that I will remember for years to come. Over 250 institutions responded to President Obama’s call to service. More than half of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities created a year-long plan to implement on their respective campuses to enhance community service and interfaith dialogue. SLU’s own plan builds on many existing events and organizations, but incorporates and intertwines them with a interfaith or spiritual topic. Two of the main ideas highlighted in SLU’s plan center around domestic poverty and educational opportunity as well as health services and healthy living.  These signature service opportunities will provide individuals of different faiths the opportunity to come together in service to address issues of poverty, education, and health.
SLU is not alone in realizing that health, community service, and interfaith work can all be blended into one cohesive event and platform for students to engage upon. That ideal partners so well with the foundational behaviors of athletic training. Of the seven, the one entitled cultural competence, discusses the ideology of equity – not all patients can be treated exactly the same. There are different ways and approaches to take when handling a patient with differing cultures, backgrounds, traditions, and in this case, religion. It was truly fascinating to see how all the schools were planning on tackling this concept that too frequently passes under the radar.

It was a true honor to represent Saint Louis University in our nation’s capital for an event that targets issues in our country that I am so passionate about. I can only hope that SLU, along with the rest of the schools participating can not only accomplish their proposed plans, but make them sustainable for years to come. I hope to use all the knowledge I gained at the conference and will gain throughout this experience, and incorporate it into my future profession within the athletic training domain.

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