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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Can you practice the spirituality of unity in your everyday surroundings? The story of one Italian university student.

For four years I’ve been enrolled at the Fine Arts Academy. It’s an environment with a little more than 200 students who in recent years have been suffering economic difficulties. Therefore, there have been protests and the atmosphere has become rather difficult and uncertain. Besides my studies, I also tried to love those who along with me have been going through these financially difficult times. I was offered a job at Student Consulting. On the one hand I wanted to continue helping out, but I was frightened of the commitment. It was a job that would involve a lot of hard work in order to be carried out. In the end I found myself president of Consulting.

Calling meetings and assemblies, preparing reports, drawing up the regulations, attending board directors meetings – this was all new to me. However, I felt that the only important thing was to put myself at the service of everyone.

It turned out to be quite a beautiful experience, a daily commitment that brought positive results each time I was able to go beyond difficulties, as I tried to live the Gospel.

For example: There wasn’t always a good relationship among the professors and the students were suffering because of it. At the request of the students I wrote a letter to our instructors in which I clearly stated the student’s position. Many people told me that I was taking a risk. But following an initial reaction the instructors began to act differently, and my examination results were never compromised.

A year ago the Director, President and Administrative Director changed. Building new relationships with people who are older and hold such positions has not been easy for me. However, there have been discussions that led to greater cooperation and very fruitful and positive confrontation. For my part, it was always a matter of being sincere, precise and listening to all that the others had to say. Trust among us has grown, despite the difficulties.

At the beginning of summer they intended to again raise the taxes and the students obviously disagreed. I understood that the economic situation was difficult, but it was also clear that this would put many in hard times. Thanks to the trust that has been established they called me to speak with them and after many hours of discussing all the options, they proposed reducing bi-annual registration fees by 200€!

Beside my relationship with the institution there is my relationship with the students who are always coming to me with new requests. With the students in my class there were particular difficulties due to a change in professors. In fact, because of his personality, and to force us to improve, every time we confronted him we came back destroyed and discouraged.

It was an effort to listen to everything he had to say and, at the same time, it seemed impossible to establish any kind of relationship with him. But in the end our efforts proved fruitful. In October, several students who knew that I would have to reorganize his office for the examinations, came to give me a hand with the work. It felt like we were preparing for a feast: some helped to move the heavy furniture, some decorated the bulletin boards, some prepared name tags and others painted the wall. . .

When the professor arrived everything was ready, not only the work but also many small details that weren’t really necessary but made everything look so special and beautiful! Before beginning the examination he thanked everyone for the year we had spent together and even confided that   entering the room, he felt at home.

This was like an answer to my efforts at living the spirituality of unity of Chiara Lubich throughout the whole year!”

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