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.
There are eight important tenets at the heart of Holy Cross residentiality:
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.
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.
Click on the image below to see how all the pieces of our philosophy work together to support our students.