VITAL (The Vincentian Initiative to Advance Leadership)
VITAL (The Vincentian Initiative to Advance Leadership) is "a leadership program based on service, spirituality and values" initiated by Associate Vice President of Campus Ministry Pamela Shea-Byrnes in 1999. The Catholic Bishops of America encouraged campus ministers to empower effective Catholic leaders for the future.
VITAL goals were to bring together the best of the leadership training models and give students the opportunity to experience challenging programs around diversity and having their values inform their choices in a safe environment.
Students are given the chance to experience these leadership training opportunities and structured experiences in the context of a group where there is great trust and support. The students have the added security of built-in mentors in the campus ministers who help shepherd them through these experiences.
The VITAL program has grown steadily. It is a four-year intensive program and the first graduates from that class were recently commissioned. Each year has a specific goal, and there are programs and discussions geared toward students and where they are at in their faith journey.
In an effort to enhance leadership development with our student-athletes, the Athletic Department in collaboration with Campus Ministry has required each of our athletic teams to be represented in Project VITAL. This requirement is reflected in each of our coaches' Partnership for Performance Objectives for 2003-04. They will be participating in the spring. To date the VITAL Program has 155 students of which 35 are student-athletes.
Each group has a VITAL night six times a year. Students go from being assigned to a service site the first year to designing their own service plan by Year Four.