Tag Archives: Joanna Burlison

USF Honors Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Bondevik

 

This year’s honorary degree recipient Kjell Bondevik sat down with the Foghorn for an interview regarding his humanitarian efforts.  Photo by Laura Plantholt/Foghorn

This year’s honorary degree recipient Kjell Bondevik sat down with the Foghorn for an interview regarding his humanitarian efforts. Photo by Laura Plantholt/Foghorn

The University of San Francisco held its annual Mass of the Holy Spirit on Wednesday, Sept. 30 in St. Ignatius Church. Residents from all over San Francisco came together on this day. But this was an especially important ceremony this year, because it honored Kjell Magne Bondevik, the former prime minister of Norway.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is a service that brings San Francisco’s academic and non-academic community together to celebrate the spirit of humanity, or as Rev. Stephen Privett, S.J, the president of USF said, our “common humanity, which we share with all people regardless of color, income, gender, or sexual orientation.” There was a deep focus on community and duty throughout the whole proceedings.

The mass began to the sound of violin, piano and choir, filling the bright and open church and encircling its participants. Members of several USF clubs, organizations, and athletic teams attended: Not for Sale, the St. Ignatius Institute, men and women’s basketball, baseball, tennis, and soccer, to name a few. Members of these organizations were asked to place symbols of their group on the altar, giving a sense of shared interests and support to observers.

Between the inspirational songs and readings, Privett preached about the injustices of our health care and prison systems, suggesting that they “focus on punishment and revenge rather than really protecting us.” He called upon “our responsibility to open the eyes of those blinded by nationalism, racism, etc.” and to “gather as one.” Privett’s speech touched on unity, because, he said, we are all of the same brotherhood/family, we must care for our weak, our sick and dying, our poor, and victims of injustice. The Jesuit mission and values were prominently portrayed in every significance of the mass.

It is because of his embodiment of this spirit that Bondevik received an honorary Doctor of Humane letters from the university. Privett spoke of him as one “who is clearly filled with God’s spirit, he is a peacemaker and a champion of human rights.” During his term as prime minister of Norway, Bondevik increased programs for health care and education. He also created a prosperous economy while focusing on protecting the environment.

In addition, Bondevik is highly commended for his actions to reduce the stigma of mental illness. He addressed publicly his own needs to take a leave of absence for depression, and argued to British Parliament that “mental illness should not be any more mysterious than a physical illness and that it is possible to recover.” Outside of his political career, he has promoted human rights, democracy, and inter-religious and intellectual dialogue by establishing the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. He is involved in several global campaigns against social injustices.

As president of this organization, he traveled to China recently, to urge them to end the human rights violations in Burma. Bondevik also pledges humanitarian aid to war-ravaged Iraq. Privett said because of this commitment to “pursuing a global common good and for his capacity to integrate faith and reason in a life devoted to fashioning a more humane and just world for all” that USF honored Kjell Magne Bondevik with this degree.

Student Tries to Get Bike Club Rolling

Tour guides from all over the state have hailed San Francisco as “the land of the bike.” According to the 2006 David Binder Poll, 30,000 plus San Franciscans use a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation. USF students are no exception. Many bike to campus and also bike for fun. Their bikes can be seen parked near Gleeson Library, University Center and outside Cowell Hall. Senior environmental studies major, Tarun Manya wants to take this biking passion one step further with the introduction of the Larger Rubber, a new bike club on campus.

The Larger Rubber Club was not registered in time to participate in the Involvement Fair, so Manya has been working to talk with students to make them aware of the club and to gather signatures for a petition. The Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) requires aspiring clubs to gain signatures and write a Constitution to become offically recognized. Tarun Manya, attempted to post up on the outskirts of the Involvement Fair, “I was[trying] to be as close as possible so I could get more people interested in the bike club, or upcoming bike club,” he said, but he was escorted away by Public Safety officers. Assistant Director of  SLE, Darren Pierre, said that he “didn’t know anything about the group” and so “could not, in good conscience, allow them to participate in the Involvement Fair.” Pierre does believe, however, that if the club can get registered it is “absolutely” a positive addition to USF. “Wherever there is a need and students can create ‘community’,” he said, there should be a club. The Larger Rubber Club does indeed cater to a desire for encouraging students to use alternative modes of transportation, and for students who bike to get together to share biking resources, information and experience.

Manya is currently getting a petition signed and creating a constitution, as part of the registration process required by SLE to become recognized as a club. In addition to promoting the use of bicycles, the club will participate in events based on the interests of its members. One San Francisco biking tradition is traversing the Golden Gate Bridge while taking in the city’s skyline. Freshman Lauren Birdwell expressed interest in the group, she said, “I’ve always wanted to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge!”