Hood of the Month: Mount Greenwood

Just over 40 years after the great city of Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837, the neighborhood of Mount Greenwood came to life. It was 1879, Chicago was a booming area of commerce, excitement, and immigration, and Mount Greenwood was plotted after surveyor George Washington Waite had received a federal grant. Because of this grant, this predominantly Irish-Catholic neighborhood was born. Sitting deep on the south side, Mount Greenwood is still an area of traditional values, hard working middle-class citizens, and neighbors who are considered family. This is Mount Greenwood.

Shortly after Chicago became legit in 1837, the Sisters of Mercy (originated in Dublin…see, the Irish ties!) started St. Francis Xavier Academy for Females. Fast forward to 1847, and they got the a-ok to make this academy a college….or as the SXU history books put it: “a corporation empowered to confer degrees.” Hell yeah! Or should I say Alleluia! This makes [currently] St. Xavier University the oldest Catholic educational institution in Chicago. How awesome is that? You know what’s even more awesome? I went there. I did my time on the south side, and it couldn’t have gone any better. So now I’m here paying it forward by letting all you lovelies know about some of the really cool boards, events, people, and other ways SXU really helps define the Mount Greenwood community.

There are so many events and activities taking place at SXU or sponsored by SXU; a majority of these events are coordinated and run by the devoted souls of the Saint Xavier National Alumni Board, headed by President Trent Douglas. Halfway to Homecoming, White Sox games, Jazzin’ at the Shed, softball games, comedy shows. All of these activities and more are offered throughout the year as a way for current students and alumni not only to meet each other and (hopefully) build relationships, but to celebrate the SXU heritage and have a freakin’ blast! I was lucky enough to get together with Trent, Vice President Carol Bradtke, and Secretary Marvin Fourte to hear a little more about what the Alumni Board does, and how they have become a big part of giving back to the community.

Marvin heads the Student Philanthropy group at SXU, and one of his primary goals is to show the students how important it is to support the school, to support the community, and to give back…especially after they graduate. Marvin stressed how important it is to expose current students to everything the school does for current students, alumni, and the Mount Greenwood community. If the current students are informed while they are on the brink of graduation, there is a better chance they will keep strong ties to the school as an alum.

“You definitely have to be mindful of the opportunity that works for [the students]. It has to be something that engages their interest, as well as yours.”

This seems to be the new way the Alumni Board is evolving, by customizing events that target various age groups and causes. The Board’s newest initiative is to segment the audiences for events rather than have “blanket” events. This is where the 10 Below, Rugrats, Mercy in Action, and Golden gals groups were born. Targeting young alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years, the next generation of a mom/pop/tot audience, service projects coordinated with the students philanthropy group, and those who are celebrating reunions of 40 years and more, really touches everyone. Not only does this help the board with planning, marketing, and visioning, it also opens the door for new and exciting events and meet-ups.

Talk about a group that does it all. Literally…these people are doing the most, and it’s awesome. And before you even ask…it’s not about the money. It’s not about fundraising. Actually, the Alumni Board typically breaks even on most events they sponsor, if not, they may even lose money. Again, it’s not about the money. It’s about giving back to a school that gave so much to them.

“I like that we focus on not just fun things, but we try to engage in the community by doing service projects” added Carol.

“I would say one thing we really move towards are the events not being an event where we say Hey, give us money…we try to get [the students] back with the school, involved in the school, see what’s going on, try to get them around students so they can say Oh hey, there’s a lot going on here, there’s more than when I went to school, went to class and left. Maybe I can help.”- Trent

This brings us to one of, if not, the biggest event of the year: Homecoming. Kelly Murphy is the Media Relations Specialist at SXU, and she had a few things to say about the October 8th event. “Saint Xavier University (SXU) Homecoming activities are an important tradition because they give us an opportunity to connect with alumni, new students, faculty, and administrators as well as returning students. We can celebrate the start of a new semester together while also enjoying numerous fun-filled and action-packed events for everyone such as class reunions, receptions, a football game, award ceremonies, a service project, comedy night, a 5K run, and much more.”

Traditionally, Homecoming has been a welcoming of the fall semester; seeing old friends; meeting new people; starting up with new beginnings. Most importantly, the awesome coordinators at SXU make sure to open up their events to the Mount Greenwood community, and to people of all ages. The schedule of events for this year’s Homecoming celebration is something worth checking out! Whether you are an SXU alum, a resident of Mount Greenwood, or someone looking for something nostalgic and different to do…take yourself down to the South Side and enjoy any of the following events:

The All Alumni Reunion will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. at Gilhooley’s Grande Saloon. Admission is $15 in advance; $20 at the door and includes food and beverages (cash bar). If you’re an alum, there’s not reason you shouldn’t go to this!!!

Homecoming Liturgy and Spirit of Saint Xavier Awards will be held on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. in SXU’s McDonough Chapel of the Mother of Mercy where the following alumnae will be honored: Sister Diane Dalle Molle, M.S.C. ‘65, ’69 (Spirit of Saint Xavier Award); Margaret Mary Hayes ’84, ’08 (Sister Dorothy Marie Peschon ’19 Award); and Brian C. Garland ’09, ’13 (Rita A. Ford ’98 Faith in the Future Award).

The Academic Distinguished Alumni and The O’Brien Student Leadership Awards will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. in Warde Academic Center’s Butler Reception Room. Nearly 100 guests are expected to be in attendance to honor the alumni and students whose words and actions emulate the operating ethos of Saint Xavier University.

Service project with Southwest Diaper Depository for Little Ends (SWADDLE) will take place on Thursday, Oct. 6 starting at 10 a.m. and throughout the day, where local high school and junior high students will join the SXU community to compile a tower made up of thousands of diaper donations that will assist families in need in Chicago and the southwest suburbs. One in three American families struggle to provide diapers for their children. SWADDLE helps to bridge the gap for babies of parents living below the poverty level to have the chance to be dry, healthy and happy. At the event, local school students, SXU students, alumni and volunteers will create diaper packages that will go to numerous social service agencies, such as: Catholic Charities, Easter Seals, Respond Now, PASS Pregnancy Centers and the COURAGE Program. This service project, founded by numerous SXU alumni, embodies the work of SXU founder Catherine McAuley who believed in providing service to others and ministering to the poor, sick and uneducated. All babies deserve to have clean, dry diapers each and every day. If you’d like to donate diapers to SXU’s Homecoming service project, SWADDLE, please contact Alumni Relations at alumni@sxu.edu. This service project is attempting to set the world record for largest diaper cake! Please come out and volunteer a little bit of your time to help this incredible cause!! I KNOW you want to be part of a world record, right? Imagine how that will step up your life cred! (PS. Make sure to check out Binge Magazine’s upcoming feature on SWADDLE!!)

Fr. Gregory Boyle’s “Homeboy Industries” Presentation on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. will focus on Fr. Boyle’s work in establishing the largest and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. Hear the strategies Fr. Boyle implemented as founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Calif, and the impact of his intervention services in various communities. He will also discuss his 2010 New York Times- bestselling book entitled, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.” This presentation is free and open to the public, but donations of diapers or a good will offering to support our diaper drive will be appreciated.

3rd Annual SXU Comedy Night on Friday, Oct. 7 features veteran headliner Tim Walkoe, a musician, author, improvisational actor and comedian who has performed at over 100 comedy clubs nationwide including the Comedy Stop in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Zanies, and Funny Bones. Walkoe was also the $10,000 grand winner on ABC-TV’s “America’s Funniest People.” He will be joined by local comedian Jim Flannigan whose blend of personal storytelling and smart, sharp punch lines makes him a favorite at colleges, comedy clubs and corporate events. The evening includes a pre-show reception held inside SXU’s Center for Instructional Design and Academic Technology (CIDAT) from 7 to 8 p.m. with the performances from 8 to 10 p.m. in McGuire Hall. The event costs $30 (cash bar), which includes admission to the show, appetizers, and other light refreshments and attendees must be 21-years old. Booze and comedy…hello, people?!!? BE THERE.

16th Annual Cougar 5K Run/Walk will take place on Saturday, Oct. 8 as over 800 expected students, alumni, faculty and friends of SXU take to the pavement on Saturday, Oct. 8. Immediately following the run, join us for an All School Reunion at Cougar’s Corner, the official SXU Homecoming Tailgate. This is a great opportunity to meet the Deans and faculty members and catch up with other alumni from CAS, SOE, SON & GSM. Admission is $10 in advance; $15 at he door (21+) and includes food and beverages (cash bar) Children 12 and under who are accompanied by a paid adult are free. Back by popular demand, Cougar Cubs – an entertainment area for kids that includes a jumping jack, craft projects, and more – will be present.

For more information about upcoming alumni events, please contact Alumni Relations at 773-298- 3316 or email at alumni@sxu.edu.

The Irish-Catholic heritage. The giving back. The devotion to good. The community engagement. This not only embodies the mission of St. Xavier University, but it embodies the very essence that is Mount Greenwood.

St. Xavier University is located at 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago, IL 60655

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