The start of the 2014-2015 academic year marked the opening of Emmanuel College's Notre Dame Campus, located at the former home of the Society of St. Margaret's Convent in the historic Fort Hill/Highland Park neighborhood of Roxbury. Emmanuel purchased the four-building, 1.65-acre property in 2012 and it now serves as center for programs related to the College's mission, including a living-learning community, retreats, prayer, spiritual direction, social justice and service learning.
The Notre Dame Campus houses around 30-upper class students who have committed to a residence-life experience that focuses on reflection, urban education and service to the community. Each student has selected one of the neighborhood's community partners at which to fulfill his or her weekly service requirement. Residents will meet regularly for reflection and group meals and will present semester-based projects on their experiences developing a deeper sense of the College's mission and their roles in the larger Boston community.
The campus is named for Emmanuel College's founding order, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who operated Notre Dame Academy on Washington Street, just a few blocks from the new campus, from 1854 to 1965. Today, Notre Dame Street is situated adjacent to Washington Street, in recognition of the Sisters of Notre Dame's impact on the neighborhood. Expanding on this history, the College has developed partnerships to create programs of mutual benefit to the neighborhood.
Residents of the Fort Hill/Highland Park neighborhoods have expressed a particular interest in urban agriculture and food justice--every community's right to access food that nourishes body, mind and spirit. To support this effort, the College created the Urban Food Project, designed to provide nutritional education and information, as well as urban gardening strategies, for low-income families in Boston. The Notre Dame Campus will serve as the hub for the Urban Food Project, though the initiative will be open to all Emmanuel students.
In its inaugural year, the Urban Food Project will be underwritten by a $25,000 grant from the New Balance Foundation. The project connects directly with the Foundation's goal of promoting healthy lifestyles while working to prevent childhood obesity. Working closely with community residents and partner organizations, Emmanuel students will plant and maintain an urban garden on the Notre Dame Campus, develop a food distribution process, and offer workshops, cooking classes and tips on nutrition and healthy lifestyles for families. As part of its outreach efforts, students will also establish relationships with homeless mothers and children at Nazareth Residence and fourth-grade students at Mission Grammar School. An existing greenhouse on Emmanuel's main campus will allow for year-round gardening and gardening education as well as help support the Notre Dame Campus garden.
The one-year grant provides funding for three student program coordinators, an urban gardening consultant, supplies and tools for the planting and maintenance of the garden, and materials to support community events and educational curriculum.
Additional features of the Notre Dame Campus include a chapel, library, conference center, dining, kitchen facilities, meeting/office spaces, and views of the Boston skyline. The campus is also the location of the William Lloyd Garrison House, the historic residence of the leader of Boston's anti-slavery cause.
For more information about the campus, click here.