Office of Mission Animation

What is Mission Animation?

The root of the word "animation" is the Latin anima, meaning soul. Our Catholic Spiritan mission and heritage is at the very soul of who we are as an institution at Duquesne University. Within that, the role of Mission Animation is two-fold. First, the role of Mission Animation is to help our campus community understand what it means to be a Catholic university in the unique tradition of the Spiritans. All members of the Duquesne community should be able to relate to some aspect of our mission here in order to live it out within their roles as students, faculty, and staff members. Second, the role of Mission Animation is social justice education on our campus with our students, as well as work in community engagement, particularly with our undergraduate students. This role is steeped in the Spiritan tradition of dedication to the poor and vulnerable.

Mission Animation Programming

Justice Through a Spiritan Lens

JSL is an educational series working with academic and student life partners to provide educational experiences that mirror our call to perform the Corporal Works of Mercy. The series has explored homelessness in the city of Pittsburgh (Shelter the Homeless), food insecurity in local schools (Feed the Hungry) and the global water crisis particularly in areas where Spiritans serve (Give Drink to the Thirsty).

JSL Current Events

Late Night Freshman Orientation Events

Late Night Freshman Orientation Events Mission Animation annually sponsors two to three late night programs during Freshman Orientation that include a culture night in collaboration with the International Student Organization, and craft nights held in collaboration with Pure Thirst. These events serve to introduce new students to the Mission and Identity of Duquesne.

Heritage Week

Held each year during the week of October 1st, Heritage Week hosts several events including the Feast of Spiritan Founder Claude des Places and the University Birthday celebration. Other events throughout the week celebrate our roots as a school that started above a bakery for the children of immigrants. Events vary in time and type in order to engage faculty, staff, and students in celebrating and learning about our Catholic Spiritan heritage.

University Birthday Party

Each year Mission Animation hosts the University Birthday Party on October 1st. The event is held in collaboration with several departments including Freshman Development, Alumni Affairs, the Student Alumni Ambassadors, and other student organizations. Students also have the opportunity to take a "Duquesne Trivia Quiz" to win t-shirts, and play games to win other prizes as a part of the fun. The event is traditionally a part of Heritage Week.

Wine into Water

This event supports the work of Pure Thirst and their work with the Spiritan Mission in Olkokola Tanzania. Students that have attended the experience in Tanzania share their experiences learning about the impact of the water crisis in this area. Tickets offer attendees two glasses of wine along with snacks. The event raises awareness on both the work of the Spiritans around the world and ways in which our students are involved in serving others far beyond the borders of our campus. The event is traditionally a part of Heritage Week.

Rue des Cordiers Dinner

This invitation only event honors students that have been nominated by faculty and staff for exhibiting qualities of a servant leader. At the dinner, a reflection is given on des Places as a servant leader, and his unlikely path to founding the Spiritans. The event is traditionally a part of Heritage Week.

Feast Day Programming

In addition to the annual Feast on Feast Days, programming is usually held on each of the four Spiritan feast days throughout the academic year. These programs range from luncheons for faculty and staff that include reflections on how members of our campus community live out our heritage inspired by the Spiritans to custom-built student facing programing for specific groups. As an example of the latter, for Brottier Day in February, an event is held that combines student veterans with members of our Greek fraternities to learn about the life of Blessed Daniel Brottier and reflect together on the meaning of brotherhood.

Founders Week

Held each year the week of February 2nd, Founders Week is anchored by the Feast Day of Spiritan Founder Venerable Francis Libermann. While Heritage Week celebrates our university history and heritage, Founders Week looks more at the Spiritan Congregation worldwide, its history, and how Spiritans around the world live out their call to serve others today. The week includes a number of events that range from educational, to liturgical, to celebrational.

Evening of Flights

This annual fundraiser benefits a different Spiritan mission around the world each year. One of the most popular aspects of the event is the Spiritans that circulate around the room sharing stories of their experiences and adventures. We also show a video of the Spiritan mission abroad for which we are raising funds. It serves as a
wonderful opportunity for our campus community to connect with the greater Spiritan community around the world.

Feast on Feast Days

In the Catholic tradition, we celebrate on feast days. In honor of that tradition, we celebrate Spiritan Feast Days on campus by giving out free snacks along with some information on the Spiritan we are celebrating. The fall semester features Feast on Feast Day celebrations for Blessed Jacques Laval and Claude Poullart des Places.

Community Engagement Scholars

A collaborative effort of the Center for Community Engaged Teaching and Research and Mission Animation, the Community Engagement Scholars program provides students with a structured, supervised community-based immersion in a non-profit organization, citizen action group, or philanthropic entity. Through discussion and application of social change theories, students explore the tenants of community engagement through a uniquely Catholic Spiritan lens. Students reflect critically on their emerging civic agency and the importance to our work in communities at a mission driven institution like Duquesne. The program takes a cohort of students that work with one organization over an entire academic year while attending a weekly social justice seminartaught by Mission Animation.

Sacred Conversations on Race

This series allows undergraduate students to be guided by peer leaders in table discussions centered around racial identity, personal prejudice, and systemic racism. The program is centered around the idea that all conversations that require us to share parts of our stories, and receive the stories of others are sacred, and thus occur in a sacred space. In addition, conversations are guided by how our faith experience impacts our understanding of race and racial identity.

Mission Ambassadors

This program allows students to apply for funding to be used for events that explicitly highlight one of the five pillars of the mission or an expression of the Spiritan Charism. Events have ranged from global potluck dinners, to events on mental health and wellbeing. All students that apply to host an event attend a training evening on the mission of Duquesne and our Catholic Spiritan heritage to help them in articulating the mission at their event.

Mission Presentation

Throughout the course of the year, Mission Animation provides presentations and workshops on our university mission and Catholic Spiritan Heritage. These include workshops to all new full time employees, presentations for new graduate students and teaching assistants, and discipline specific workshops on how we live out our
mission for undergraduate students in their classrooms.

Pure Thirst 

An academically-rooted and mission-driven program, Pure Thirst is a collaborative effort of Mission Animation and the Center for Environmental Research and Education. The mission of Pure Thirst is to work with the Olkokola community in northern Tanzania in its effort to gain better access to clean water, while teaching students how to be agents of positive change in our world. Grounded in the Spiritan tradition, Pure Thirst embraces the building of authentic relationships while walking with those on the margins. Pure Thirst works with Spiritans, Duquesne faculty, and community leaders in Olkokola as they explore ways to increase water access and improve water quality.

More Info

Duquesne University Leadership Academy (DULA)

DULA affords high school students from the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese an opportunity to serve, deepen their understanding of how their faith can translate into practical initiatives that benefit their neighbors and fellow human beings, and reflect together in an academically challenging environment upon issues of importance to society today. The program draws from the best resources at the university and our surrounding communities while immersing students in serious community engagement activity and faith formation opportunities. Participants stay on campus for the intensive fourday program. DULA is an initiative of the Office of the President and is planned and executed by Mission Animation and the Office of Freshman Development.

Contact Information
Luci-Jo DiMaggio

Director of Mission Animation
CETR Coordinator for Student Community Engagement 
412-396-1405
dimaggi171@duq.edu