Image Courtesy of Mariah Solis
By Mariah Solis
Harrison Hanvey recently announced that he is departing from his position at Catholic University’s Campus Ministry office, switching to working part-time in February through the remainder of the spring semester. As Associate Director for Community Engagement, Social Justice and Catholic Social Teaching, Hanvey played a major role in coordinating multiple service programs and fostering meaningful dialogues on campus, encouraging students to build relationships with the marginalized.
After a trip to Central America as an undergraduate student, Hanvey felt called to a life dedicated to service and justice. He later lived in Central America for five years, working with the vulnerable in poor, rural areas before moving back to the U.S. This experience eventually led to him guiding CUA students to participate in the service trips and opportunities available through the university.
During his time in Campus Ministry, he helped coordinate annual events such as the Mother Teresa Day of Service, Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, National Migration Week, St. Oscar Romero Week, MLK Day of Service, and the MLK Teach-In. Additionally, he arranges the Summer Service Fellowship, Service and Justice Immersion Program, and works with student leaders of the Cardinal Service Corps.
In one email sent out to students, he wrote, “While it’s hard to believe that my time at CUA is coming to a close, the impact it’s left on me will certainly continue. People like you who’ve inspired me, and helped me to grow both personally and spiritually, I will always carry with me. Thank you for using your gifts to serve others; I include myself among them.”
When asked what the most rewarding aspect of his job has been, Hanvey said, “Walking with students as they grow and are transformed by their relationships with the poor and marginalized.” He continued, stating, “Especially during my time at CUA, I think I’ve learned that working with young people has been a real source of encountering God for me. Listening to young people’s stories, both in their joys and their struggles, has made me relate to the infinite empathy of God, the infinite compassion of God, and the infinite mercy of God.”
He discussed how he has maintained a friendship with multiple graduated students and remembers many of the people he has met through his role in Campus Ministry, with memorabilia spread throughout his office. This includes a rosewood cross he received years ago during one of the summer service trips, which has the names of every student that attended. In addition to items from his various service projects, he also has icons of people like St. Oscar Romero and a framed poster from the 2021 MLK Teach-In.
He shared what planning the first MLK Teach-In during the COVID-19 pandemic was like, stating, “We were brainstorming how to engage our community in the legacy of Dr. King at a time when we can’t really gather.”
Hanvey mentioned how they created a committee that consisted of various academic departments, athletic groups, and student organizations to discuss ways to honor Martin Luther King Jr. during the week of his holiday, eventually leading to the creation of MLK Teach-In. He described how the committee’s creation was a particular moment that stuck with him.
“Working together with different groups from different parts of campus and coming together for a mission of service and love, it was just a beautiful thing,” he stated.
After reflecting on his time at CUA, Hanvey also sent well wishes to the Campus Ministry office, stating, “My hope is that Campus Ministry is a place for all students to feel at home and explore their relationship with God and one another. That it continues to be a place where students are challenged to encounter people who are forgotten or suffering, and to lift up each other.”
Many students have felt the impact of Hanvey’s work on campus, including Resident Minister Clare Delmore, senior biology and philosophy major.
“Harrison is a selfless, committed, joyful and compassionate leader that seeks not only to educate the students he encounters but also to love them unconditionally,” Delmore said. “Countless events, programs, teach-ins, and service days would not have been possible without his care and guidance. I know that the entire student body will miss his kind spirit and relentless servant’s heart.”
Grace Riordan, senior sociology and French and Francophone studies major, also expressed her gratitude for Hanvey.
“Harrison has a wonderful way of making everyone that he works with feel special and valued,” Riodran said. “It is truly a gift. I feel very lucky to have met him and I’ve learned so much from him. I wish him all the best for the future.”
Hanvey will be taking a position at the Office of Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S. Located in D.C, the office advocates and educates others about social and environmental justice.