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cENTER FOR MISSION & RESEARCH

The Center for Mission and Research connects St. John’s with the world around us. We promote interdisciplinary inquiry and action through the focus areas of environmental sustainability, global health and wellness, innovation and design, and justice and peace. Through our programs and initiatives, we encourage thinking critically, taking risks, and building resilience while engaging humanity’s biggest challenges.

Vijay Gupta, Violinist and Social Justice Advocate, Winter 2021 Brother Sullivan Lecture 

Vijay Gupta

An esteemed performer, communicator, and citizen-artist, Vijay Gupta is a leading advocate for the role of the arts and music to heal, inspire, provoke change, and foster social connection. Gupta is the founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony, a non-profit organization providing musical engagement, dialogue and teaching artistry for homeless and incarcerated communities in Los Angeles. Recognized for his “dedication to bringing beauty, respite, and purpose to those all too often ignored by society while demonstrating the capacity of music to validate our shared humanity”, Gupta is a 2018 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow. Read more about Vijay Gupta's visit to St. John's here. 

Cleaning the Nest: A Student Podcast with Environmentalist Bill McKibben

In fall 2020, a group of St. John’s Prep students held a conversation with acclaimed environmentalist Bill McKibben. McKibben, who is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, discussed his vision for climate justice and inspired them to take action within their own communities. The conversation centered on fossil fuel divestment and McKibben challenged students to consider the ways that they can use their voice to positively impact the organizations that they are a part of. Students have adapted this conversation into a podcast that focuses on the ways that the St. John’s community can act on McKibben’s challenge by including additional interviews with faculty and staff at St. John’s.

We look forward to welcoming Bill McKibben to St. John’s fall 2021 installment of the Brother Sullivan C.F.X. Lecture. This podcast was designed and recorded by Jacob Garland ‘21, Magnus Julin ‘25, Ansh Motiani ‘22, Enrique Ruiz ‘22, and Tiger Zhang ‘22.

Focus Areas

Environmental Sustainability

Matt Spearing, Director of Environmental Sustainability
  • Cultivate action that brings us in greater harmony with creation and minimizes our ecological footprint.

  • Strengthen relationships to advance local and global responses to climate change.

  • Promote behavior that balances the interconnected systems of sustainability: environment, economy, and equity.

Innovation and Design

Nora Maginn Fame, Shaw Family Director of Innovation and Design
  • Embrace empathy-centered problem solving and other practices of effective design to create sustainable solutions.

  • Integrate a variety of perspectives and disciplines with the understanding that innovation requires diversity.

  • Support student agency and foster an appreciation for failure as a learning tool.

Justice and Peace

Chris Bauer, Director of Justice and Peace
  • Put into action our school’s responsibility to form agents for social transformation.

  • Challenge our community to embrace a spirituality that does justice.

  • Practice solidarity and transform dynamics of privilege and power.

Global Health and Wellness

Samira Tella, Director of Global Health and Wellness
  • Understand and appreciate how psychological, economic, spiritual, social, and biological factors interrelate to affect health.
  • Raise awareness and foster inquiry that contributes to valuing the life and dignity of each person throughout the world.
How We Engage

Advanced Research Capstone

The Advanced Research Capstone is a critical learning experience that provides an opportunity for intellectual problem solving, social change, and community engagement through the interdisciplinary focus areas of the Center for Mission and Research. The course allows students to deeply explore research methods and design by constructing a focused research-based project in an area of primary interest. By the end of the year, students will showcase their new knowledge through a written research paper, product, and public presentation. Ultimately, this course enables students to engage and reflect on local and global issues in order to contribute towards a more just society.

Global Education

Each year, rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors have the opportunity to participate in an academic program in a different part of the world. This experience allows students to engage in learning beyond our campus, and examine issues through a truly global lens. 

Fall 2020: Comparing Communities Through Sustainable Development Goals - Regina, Saskatchewan (Remote)

Collaboration & Community

The Center directors collaborate with faculty across disciplines to provide resources that enhance understanding of issues related to the Center’s areas of focus.

Lecture Series

The Brother Robert J. Sullivan, C.F.X. Lecture Series brings innovators and leaders to St. John’s Prep to explore how an ethics-based education can shape decision-making in the real world. 

Future speakers include Father Greg Boyle,  founder and Director of Homeboy Industries and author of the 2020 SJP High School Community Read Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, and Bill McKibbenauthor, environmentalist, and activist.

As a preview to his visit, McKibben recently spoke with a group of St. John's students. The conversation centered on fossil fuel divestment and McKibben challenged students to consider the ways that they can use their voice to positively impact the organizations that they are a part of. Students have adapted this conversation into a podcast that focuses on the ways that the St. John's community can act on McKibben's challenge by including additional interviews with faculty and staff at St. John's. You can listen to the hour-long podcast here.

View the list of past speakers, including Vijay Gupta, Social Advocate and Violinist, and Samantha Power, Former US Ambassador to the UN, here. 

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