Students all over the country are sharing their experience with Jesuit education this month, generating a large amount of hype surrounding the visit of Pope Francis to the United States. This month, Fairfield is cooperating with over 20 Jesuit institutions across the U.S. in a #JesuitEducated campaign.

The University’s presence in the campaign is best found on social media. Using the hashtag #JesuitEducated, the University is showcasing photos, blogs, stories, and more from students who have been touched by Jesuit education. These posts highlight the value of Jesuit education overall, and generate a great deal of hype for the Jesuit pope.

Senior Allanah Dykes will be spearheading this campaign, using her social media platforms to spread the news about Jesuit education, and document her own experience on her trip to New York City on Sept. 25 to see the pope. Dykes was one of 50 students across the country to be selected by @PopeIsHope to be part of a “Digital Street Team,” which covers and shares stories about the event through social media. The Magnificat Foundation and Aleteia, a Christian faith network, selected these students.

Dykes explained that other than studying abroad, this was one of the most meaningful Fairfield experiences to her. “I would say that these events are very exciting, the new pope is very accepting of everyone regardless of their race or ethnicity.” She confessed she has not seen the pope before; however, when she studied abroad in London last spring, she and a few friends ventured to Rome during the Easter season.

On Friday, Dykes explained that she “will be going down to Central Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with one of my closest friends” and that she will be “talking to people about Jesuit education, the pope and strength in our daily lives,” conversations that she will then post to various social media accounts.   

However, Fairfield’s contribution to this #JesuitEducated campaign will not end online. All over campus there will be various events throughout the week, leading up to a school-sponsored trip to see the pope, when he addresses the US in Philadelphia on Sept. 26. On Thursday, Sept. 24, students and faculty will be shown a live broadcast of the pope’s address to Congress starting at 9 a.m. in the lower level of the Barone Campus Center. This event will provide an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to watch the speech together. Afterward, there will be a discussion regarding the speech and how it will affect politics in the United States. For students who attend, there will be a light breakfast provided.

President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. will be taking a large part in the pope’s visit, as he was asked by Congressman Jim Himes of the state of Connecticut to personally attend the pope’s address to congress in Washington this Thursday. The pope is expected to speak about issues regarding poverty, climate change and consumerism throughout the world.

“I’m thrilled to be able to hear Pope Francis’ address to Congress, and grateful to Congressman Himes for inviting me. The fact that the pope is a fellow Jesuit makes the occasion all the more special for me. I’m sure the pope will have a message for the American people through their elected representatives that will be both challenging and inspirational, and I know that Congressman Himes looks forward to hearing that message as much as I do,” von Arx said to Fairfield News.

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