It is February, friends. Love is in the air all around, and Georgetown’s campus is no exception. We considered writing about our own love lives, but quickly realized that it would be the shortest column in the history of The Hoya.

So instead, we dedicate this Valentine’s Day column to a different kind of love — Georgetown. Last week, we found ourselves sitting among a group of sophomore students talking about what we most value about Georgetown, and after some reflection, it hit us.

We are enamored with Georgetown for several reasons, but the single most important is its Jesuit identity.
Every new student applying to Georgetown says that the Jesuit identity is what sets our school apart (if you didn’t include this “original insight” in your application essays then, really, who are you?). And from the first day on campus, we hear words like “magis,” “cura personalis” and “contemplation in action,” thrown around by faculty and peers alike. It’s easy, on the surface, to “talk the Jesuit talk” at Georgetown.

But after nearly four years on Hilltop, we believe that Georgetown walks that Jesuit walk. We have seen the spirit of the Jesuit principles lived out on this campus everyday. We’ve seen it in the understanding emails of a professor granting a paper extension, the kind word of a Leo’s worker or the tired eyes of a friend willing to stay up late to talk through an emotional crisis.

And of course, in the wise and impactful words of the Jesuits themselves.Perhaps we’ve been drinking the Jesuit Kool-Aid, but it seems to us that this sense of care and compassion that resonates at Georgetown goes beyond basic human decency. This network of support at Georgetown is fortified by deeper sense of community borne out of this identity that we share.

Here’s what we know: The Jesuit identity in itself boils down to love.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, said that “love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than words,” and we both have witnessed this during our time at Georgetown.

One way we have seen this love manifest itself is through our consistent and meaningful responses to tragedies and injustices happening around our world.

Whether mourning a loss on our own campus or holding a discussion on racial injustices halfway across the country, we are proud of the way that this campus pauses from our daily lives to reflect on those difficult but important questions:What does this event mean in a larger context? What does it mean for us personally? What is our duty to help?

Engaging these issues in this way on a university level has changed the way we personally think about them.

This is not to say that Georgetown is by any means a utopia, or that our identity as a Jesuit school makes us immune to sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism and all of the other ills that commonly hinder any community.
But the principles of Ignatius upon which our institution was founded equip us and indeed encourage us to deal with these issues head on (and perhaps better than any of our peer institutions).

This love — this passionate, storied, Ignatian love for learning, for justice, for others, is the “Georgetown difference,” the “secret sauce” if you will. We have felt this love from our first moments on campus but it took some time to put words to that feeling we had.

And it’s why today we have tremendous love for Georgetown in return.


Kendall and CamilleKendall Ciesemier and Camille Squires are seniors in the College. Eighteen Weeks appears every other Friday.

One Comment

  1. The first reason given of people at GU living out Jesuit principles is an extension on a paper . . . my goodness . . .

    BTW, the most important thing to remember about Jesuit identity, education, whatever, is it has to do with Christ, who is, interestingly, not mentioned once in this piece (writing “Society of Jesus” doesn’t count). That makes me wonder if students really understand what Jesuit identity or Catholic education actually mean. Considering how often it is improperly mentioned (from the call to give out condoms and fund pro-abortion clubs, to promoting all sorts of anti-Catholic chicanery), I suspect your average student knows very little about what Catholic education or Jesuit values actually mean.

    For instance, did you know that the magis refers to the philosophy of doing more, for Christ? Or that ad majorem dei gloriam is only half of what St. Ignatius said? The full phrase is “Ad majorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem” which is translated as “for the greater glory of God and salvation of man. Or that cura personalis means care for the whole person, especially the soul?

    Forgive me, but the trite examples of Jesuit identity in action and the fact these concepts are what you refer to as the “secret sauce” of Georgetown is a bit saddening.

    But hey, at least you love Georgetown, right? I guess that’s all that matters.

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