Written by: Carina Shandy (’24)
When I toured Cabrini, I was very interested in the ECG classes that the Student Ambassadors mentioned. But what is an ECG class? And what do you learn from them?
Cabrini's Engagements with the Common Good (ECG) courses have been some of my favorites here at Cabrini. These classes are designed to enlighten students about important issues while at the same time developing a deeper sense of empathy and encouraging us to be members of the global community as Mother Cabrini was. There are three levels of ECG classes that students need to take during their time here.
As a first-year student, you will take ECG 100. I still vividly remember the class that I took, and my friends and I talk about it to this day. My ECG 100 was a Reacting to the Past role-playing experience in which the students take on a role and "react" to a specific time period and set of events. We were given Victorian London during the Cholera Outbreak, the 1980s Acid Rain Conference at the U.N., and the Paris Climate Accords. Not only did I learn about situations that I was unfamiliar with, particularly acid rain in the 1980s and the Broad Street cholera epidemic, but I also gained a deeper sense of empathy by playing characters who I did not necessarily relate to. I also learned about current social justice issues relating to these events, such as the lack of access to clean water that affects many people in the United States.
It was an experience that I will never forget, and it made me look forward to my next ECG class, which was ECG 200: Public Health. In Public Health, I gained valuable insight into the medical field and the social justice issues related to it. We watched enlightening documentaries, focusing on a number of health crises, such as equitable access to and the quality of health care in the US, undocumented immigrants, and the use of public defenders. The course touched on a variety of important topics and gave us the opportunity to research a public health crisis that we were interested in, which made the class even more engaging.
My favorite ECG class was ECG 300: Northern Ireland Post-Conflict. I took this course last semester because I was interested in learning more about my Irish heritage and the complex history of Northern Ireland, which I was especially intrigued by because of one of my favorite shows, Derry Girls. I cannot begin to describe the rich, detailed topics and history of Northern Ireland and the centuries of conflict that were excellently covered in a one-semester course, thanks to the instructor, Dr. McLaughlin, who lived in Northern Ireland and knows many of the people that we read about in the course. In fact, Dr. McLaughlin has interviewed these figures and included them in the class so that we get to hear their experience firsthand!
I will truly never forget the reading materials and texts that we read in the class, particularly A Day in My Life by Bobby Sands, which is so powerful that it moved me to tears. The films that we watched for the course were equally as impactful, including Michael Collins, Bloody Sunday, and Hunger. Each of the assignments added to my learning and gave me the opportunity to discuss events and subjects that I was passionate about. Throughout the course of one semester, I gained a thorough understanding of Northern Ireland and its intricate history.
Each of the ECG classes that I have taken here at Cabrini has been fantastic. They have given me the opportunity to become a more empathetic, educated global citizen and have brought to my attention important social justice issues that are relevant in our world today. I am so grateful that Mother Cabrini’s dedication to “Education of the Heart” is present today in our curriculum through our amazing ECG classes.