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GCU First-Year Students Reflect on a New Vision

Students in 911 service day

GCU First-Year Students Reflect on a New Vision for Justice Throughout Our World

Georgian Court University first-year students participated in “Seeing with New Eyes: 9-11 Day of Service Freshman Prayer” as part of their GEN101 experience. GEN101, or Pathway to the Bridge, is a required general education course for every GCU first-year student, as well as transfer students with less than 12 credits. After participating in a brief lecture on the history of September 11, all first-year students gathered in the Casino for an ecumenical prayer service. The students, orientation leaders, and GEN101 faculty reflected on the role Mercy plays in bringing peace to the world with readings from both Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and a quote from Rumi, a 13th-century Islamic scholar and Sufi mystic.

During the 2-credit, semester-long GEN101 course, students explore how to be successful at the university and embrace Mercy in your life. They are also introduced to the concepts of service and social justice. In addition to today’s event, first-year students will also participate in a day of service on either October 14 or October 21. Opportunities for service include creating cookbooks for families experiencing food insecurity using ingredients received at the food pantry, making fleece blankets for those in need, working in GCU’s Mercy Garden, picking up community trash, and writing letters to veterans.

Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like the running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.


At the end of the prayer service, students were given the opportunity to write down a prayer or reflection on a ribbon.

Students then processed to Jeffries Hall, where they tied their hope next to the hopes and prayers of their classmates. One read: “I pray for happiness and peace,” and another read “I wish to live in a world where my children won’t know violence.”

The prayers can currently be viewed in the Jeffries Hall colonnade.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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