Caring for Students

At the University of Portland, we take an approach to residence life that you won't find at many other universities. The University of Portland's foundation and mission relate back to Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who wrote, "An education that is complete is one in which the hands and heart are engaged as much as the mind; we want to let our students try their learning in the world, and so make prayers of their educations."

Given the integral role the University's residence halls play in creating an environment of teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership, it is essential that the University of Portland be a highly residential campus, with a continued emphasis on supporting the Holy Cross residential tradition. Read on to learn more about what makes residence life at the University of Portland different.

Residential Mission in the Holy Cross Tradition

There are eight important tenets at the heart of Holy Cross residentiality:

  • Foster Christian Community: As students learn to live alongside a diverse group of peers in our residence halls, they deepen their understanding of what it means to be part of the human family and come to see one another as unique creations of a loving God.
  • Facilitate the Journey of Faith: Residence halls provide an opportunity for students to come together as a community in weekly Eucharistic celebrations, nurture their relationship with God through biblical study and faith sharing groups, and reflect on how best to use the talents and resource they have been given.
  • Integrate Academics and Student Life: A residence hall is both a home to students and an extension of the academic enterprise; it must be a setting where study and collaborative learning can occur, where students engage in lively discussion, and faculty are frequent and welcome visitors.
  • Encourage Lives of Service: Service is part of the fabric of communal life in our residence halls, as every residence hall has service and justice coordinators who encourage residence to participate in community service and outreach programs sponsored by the Moreau Center.
  • Create a Welcoming Environment: Christian community is always a work in progress, and we strive constantly in our halls to create an atmosphere in which the unique gifts of each individual are respected and valued, allowing all to flourish, and to develop an atmosphere of respect that fosters and embraces diversity in all its facets.
  • Encourage Healthy Relationships: Our residential philosophy envisions bonds between the various hall communities and encourages a sense of cohesiveness in the student body as a whole, through intramural sports, social events, service projects, lectures, debates and other shared programs.
  • Develop Student Leadership: In addition to leadership through academic accomplishment, students find many avenues for leadership development in the student life arena, acquiring skills that equip them to lead beyond The Bluff.
  • Meet Student Health and Safety Needs: Residence hall staffs play an important role in connecting students with the wide array of services the University offers, often serving as the first point of contact when students face serious academic, health, or family difficulties.

Hall Identity

Students must feel loved and connected at the most local level possible, and at University of Portland we believe this is in the residence hall. To assist in creating a space where students feel a part of something bigger than themselves, we strive to create unique hall identity in each of our halls. Hall identity is a hallmark characteristic of Holy Cross residentiality at the University of Portland. It is especially through hall traditions that hall identity and unity are built. Distinctive hall activities, rituals, and traditions are what sets one hall apart from another and encourages ownership, connection, and hall retention, and a sense of student identity and belonging.

As critical to hall tradition is the expectation that each hall develops into both a place of hospitality and service. Will other students, parents, staff, and faculty feel welcomed within the community of the hall? What effort is the hall making towards addressing and connecting with the marginalized within the hall, on campus, in our society, and those of the global community? How will such efforts be a critical key to hall tradition and identity? Responsibility for the development of community falls to each individual resident with leadership from the hall staff; it is this commitment to each other that helps students develop and feel like they belong.

Learn more about our hall communities and what makes each one special.

Pastoral Care

Given our belief in the Holy Cross approach to residential life, we believe community comes from within the broader context of pastoral intervention and care. Intervening "pastorally" with a student means to intervene in a caring, supportive, and loving manner with the intention of promoting the community while guiding the individual. Pastoral actions can happen anywhere or anytime where there is brokenness, conflict, difficulties, or simply a need to be listened to.

Intervening pastorally means that our staff members walk into an encounter with an expansive, developmental, and relational perspective. They keep in mind our mission and consider how the values of our mission relate to this student and this situation. By intervening pastorally on behalf of the growth of the individual or community, our staff convey to students their higher desire for the care of the individual and the community. Moments such as these are the most fertile opportunities to shape values and form character.

A Vision for Residentiality

Click on the image below to see how all the pieces of our philosophy work together to support our students.

Diagram of vision for undergraduate residentiality

Contact

University of Portland
5000 N. Willamette Blvd.,
Portland, Oregon 97203-5798

503.943.8000

webmaster@up.edu