Franciscan Day of Service Learning and Social Justice

One way Viterbo is honoring St. Francis and celebrating our Franciscan heritage is by hosting our first Franciscan Day of Service Learning and Social Justice.  The Franciscan Day of Service Learning and Social Justice is Tuesday, October 5th and all daytime classes will be cancelled to allow for student attendance. We are also promoting upcoming social justice & equity events before and after October 5th to encourage Viterbo community members to engage in a variety of opportunities.

Questions or concerns? Reach out to any of the following individuals-


October 5th 2021 Schedule of Activities

8:00AM - 8:30AM Coffee Warm-Up & Blessing @ Assisi Courtyard

We are excited to invite all Viterbo students and employees to begin the day with a light continental breakfast and coffee. We will then share in a blessing. 

8:30AM - 11:30AM Service Learning

We invite Viterbo students and employees to engage in service throughout our local community. Service is coordinated through UGetConnected.

Sign up for service opportunities HERE

Priority Registration deadline: Friday, October 1st at 12pm

First time logging into UGetConnected? 

  • Step 1- Create a user profile/simply log into THIS page with your Viterbo username/info (Viterbo emails only)
  • Step 2 – Select preferences for causes/interests (can return to profile to edit),
  • Step 3 – After your profile is updated/created, return to the Needs page to reserve a spot at your preferred project.
11:30AM - 1:15PM Franny Fest @ Assisi Courtyard

Join in Viterbo's traditional Franny Fest in Assisi Courtyard. We will enjoy a free lunch and have a variety of booths sponsored by Viterbo departments, offices, student organizations, and La Crosse community partners. 

1:30PM - 3:45PM Social Justice & Equity Workshops-RECORDING AVAILABLE

We encourage all Viterbo students to participate in the social justice and equity workshops. All workshops will be held twice. The first session will run from 1:30PM - 2:30PM and the second session will run from 2:45PM - 3:45PM. 

You do not need to register to attend the workshops, but some workshops have limited in-person capacity. Check back soon for location updates and potential Zoom streaming options.


Workshop Title Workshop Facilitator(s) Workshop Summary Location
Mightier Than the Sword: A Examination of Language and Power in the U.S. Jackie Herbers Language both shapes and is shaped by reality. We use it to name items, animals, geographic areas, and people; express ideas; create cultures; and construct and perpetuate ideologies. In this workshop, students will be asked to challenge their own notions of what it means to speak and write “correctly” and the way that ideal defines who does and does not have power in societal areas such as politics, education, and business.

Nursing Building 196

Zoom Option Available: HERE  

The Circle: It's a Puzzle to Me Hannah Amann Circle, start Franny Fest Circle Chat. Message: "Come join for an interactive activity discussing assumptions about individuals via social media and learn how to challenge yourself and others." Send. Nursing Building 195
Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness at Viterbo Alicia Hengel & Jenna Hess Did you know- more than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year. Individuals experiencing mental illness continue to face daily stigma within our society and community. Join us as we explore how negative views of mental illness and help seeking impact our campus and ways we can begin to erase the stigma. Come join a safe space for learning, self-reflection, and small group discussions. Brophy 123
Privilege Painting Megan Pierce Our social identities impact how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. It's difficult to talk about our identities without talking about privilege and power. In this workshop, we will reflect on our identities and experiences while also creating a beautiful masterpiece to remind us that every person is unique and beautiful.

Fine Arts Center 221

25 In Person Capacity

What We Need Is Here: From the Leading Causes of Death to the Leading Causes of Life Matthew Bersagel Braley We are pretty good about identifying the leading causes of death. But what about the leading causes of life? After a brief introduction to the leading causes of life framework now being used by health systems in the U.S. and around the world, we will work together to identify ways in which we can put the leading causes of life into practice in our communities, health systems, and the wider society. Brophy 122
Youth Incarceration a Psychosocial Perspective Justin McKnight The controversial practice of youth incarceration is one that has been in the news and a topic of debate for Wisconsin legislators.  Policy and practice in Wisconsin can range from progressive and supportive to antiquated and traumatic for youth.  Come learn to learn about trends in youth incarceration and what is on the horizon in Wisconsin with respect to treatment approaches and detention practices.  Questions and inquiry are strongly encouraged for participants in this session. Murphy Center 348
Building Beloved Community: Exploring Masculinity and the Role of Emotional Intelligence in Community Jacob Hart

Calling all community-builders – yes, that’s you! Are you interested in exploring traditional norms of masculinity? Do you want to discuss the ideal of Beloved Community popularized by Grace Lee Boggs & Martin Luther King Jr.? Have you found it challenging to build genuine, authentic relationships in your own communities? Join us in a conversation about working towards holistic, loving, justice-centered communities. In this session, we will:

  • Define Beloved Community
  • Explore traditional concepts of masculinity and further define our own perceptions of masculinity
  • Discuss the relationship between emotional intelligence and masculinity
  • Discuss the vital role of Emotional Intelligence in building Beloved Community
Reinhart 134
The Place of Grace Story Tom Thibodeau The Place of Grace is a Catholic Worker House in LaCrosse which turns 25 years old this year in welcoming every person who comes as Christ. This is the radical model of Hospitality that Dorothy Day set forth for us and we try to follow everyday. Murphy Center 432
Merchandizing in Human Flesh: Slavery in Today's World Sr. Marlene Weisenbeck

We will consider the global and national realities of slavery today, specifically . . .

  •  Who are the slaves

  • What is Human Trafficking?

    • Legal definition; major forms and type

  • How does it happen? Supply, Demand, Distribution

    • Dynamics of victimization  understanding victims & perpetrators

    • Dynamics of healing

  • What you can do 

Nursing Center 101
Viewing and Discussion of “Racial Healing Across Segregated Places and 'Midwest Nice Faces’”  Alyssa Gostonczik “Midwest Nice” is a real phenomenon that prevents necessary disruptive conversations about race which in turn uphold systemic inequalities across our great state. Participants will view segments of Amanda Florence Goodenough’s September 12, 2021 presentation and have follow up discussion through the lens of the 2021 La Crosse Regional Read book, Waking up White by Debby Irving. Participants need not have read the book to attend. Murphy Center 416
Immigration in the US, La Crosse and Surrounding Areas Michelle Pinzl & Colin Burns-Gilbert Migration of humans from one place to another is a phenomenon that has been happening since the beginning of our existence. Known in current times as immigration, the topic has become geopolitical, involves complex economics and requires an examination society, social behavior and much more. In this workshop we will focus mostly on immigration happening in the US and La Crosse and surrounding communities. In broad terms we will explore some of the stakes of migrant workers on local farms, documented and undocumented workers in our backyards and how we might learn more about the stakes of our immigrant neighbors. Join us for conversation, contemplation and ideas of ways to get involved in your community. 

Nursing Center 205

Recording Available


Living the Core Value of Service: A lens into Service Immersion Experiences at Viterbo Emilio Alvarez & Service Immersion Participants  What is Ours to Do? This question comes up often on our journeys, serving the common good through faithful service and ethical leadership.  This session will give participants a glimpse into Service Immersion opportunities at Viterbo.  Opportunities are typically a week long and have visited cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, Cincinnati, and McAllen, TX.  Through exploring issues like food insecurity, homelessness, and immigration, we seek to see the humanity, understand the complexities, and serve those on the margins.  This session will include an exercise often incorporated into Service Immersion rotations to better understand our own identities and those of our neighbors.  It will also include stories from previous Service Immersion participants. Reinhart Center 201


5:00PM New Horizons Domestic Violence Awareness Gathering & Walk @ Cameron Park

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Center is hosting a variety of events to show support for domestic violence awareness. We encourage Viterbo community members to attend any of the events New Horizons has planned for the month of October! Learn more about events sponsored through New Horizons HERE



Extended Franciscan Day of Service Learning and Social Justice Opportunities

Supporting Afghan Evacuee Panel Discussion -- Wednesday Sept. 29th 7:00PM @ Fine Arts FSPA Lobby & Zoom

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Techincal College will be hosting a panel discussion to help our community understand and support our new Afghan neighbors.  Whether the guests at Ft. McCoy end up staying in our area long-term or not, we believe it is important to learn about and welcome people who have been through so much with as much Wisconsin hospitality as we can. We are excited to host our panelists --  Lt. Col. Erik Archer (ROTC/Military Science), Athony Chergosky (UWL Political Science), and Roberto Partarrieu (Catholic Charities).

The event will be held in person (following all CDC Covid safety guidance- face masks required) at Viterbo Fine Arts Center in the FSPA Lobby, live-streamed to Western Technical College in Tomah (limited in-person attendance and face masks required), and live streamed for personal streaming accessibility.

Learn more and access the live stream link HERE

Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Reception "Latinx Experiences in Higher Ed." -- Thursday Oct. 7th 7:00PM @ Zoom

You are welcome to our Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Reception, this year again online due to COVID-19. We are going to have a panel to listen about Latinos & Latinas experience in Higher Education as students, faculty and staff.

Register for the event HERE


Celeste Rosas-Stirgus - She is currently an Instructional Coach at Hiatt Middle school in Des Moines, Iowa. She is originally from Jalisco, Mexico. She moved to Iowa when she was 8 years old.  She was the first bilingual student to obtain the Bilingual Scholarship at William Penn University where she obtained her undergraduate degree.

Celeste taught for 6 years in Storm Lake, Iowa, before moving to the Des Moines metro area. After relocating to Des Moines Public Schools, Celeste was accepted into the master’s program at Viterbo University where she earned her Master of Arts in Education with PK-12 Principal/Supervisor of Special Education.

While in Des Moines, Celeste taught 6th-8th grade ELL classes for 6 years. Shortly after obtaining her master’s degree, Celeste accepted her new positions as an ELL Curriculum Coordinator. She also serves on the board of Latina Leadership Initiative of Greater Des Moines. Latina Leadership Initiative is a nonprofit organization that empowers young Latina women through leadership skill development, mentorship, and community service. Celeste resides in Altoona, Iowa, with her husband and two sons, Abel and Mateo. Celeste enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Dr. Vitalino Figueroa -He has more than 27 years of experience in student affairs and higher education. He came to La Crosse in 2018 to serve as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UWL. Prior to joining UWL, he was the assistant vice president for student affairs at San Diego State University. Throughout his career, he has led a variety of student affairs programs at Valley City State University in North Dakota, the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, United States International University in San Diego, and Santa Ana College in Los Angeles. He also served as an academic advisor at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Figueroa, originally from the East Coast, was born in New York and raised in Rhode Island. His mother was from the Dominican Republic, and his father came from Cuba. Dr. Figueroa was a first generation student whose parents were immigrants, arriving in the U.S. not knowing the English language. His passion and focus on student needs stem from the support he received as an undergraduate student at the University of Rhode Island. He was a part of Talent Development, a program that provided support to first generation and low-income students. Dr. Figueroa attributes much of his academic success to the counselors and staff of the program. Dr. Figueroa received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University. He completed his master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies/College Student Personnel, as well as his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science, at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Figueroa has been married to his wife, Daisy, for 22 years. They have two children, Isabella and Vitaliano III. 

José Jefferson - From Omaha, NE and attended the University of South Dakota on a football and track and field scholarship.  I was a school and conference record holder in the Triple Jump and did the 55,100, Long Jump, and High school.   All Conference in those – indoor and outdoor All-American.   Graduated with a Business Degree (B.S.B.A) and minors in History and Spanish.

I played 5 years of professional football.   Attended camp with the Cardinals and then the Chiefs.   Played with the Arizona Rattlers for 2 seasons (1993-1994) and then for the Iowa Barnstormers for 3 (1995-1997).  I was a practice squad player.  I also played with Kurt Warner with the Barnstormers. 

I have been a head coach in the IFL (Lincoln Lightning – 21-8) 2 time Division Champ, af2 (Lincoln Lightning 8-8), NIFL (Lincoln Capitols 12-4) North Division Champ, UIF (Sioux City Bandits – 21-11)North Division , League Runner up, Coach of the Year Runner Up, and new IFL (Colorado Crush 8-6).    65% winning percentage.   Coached Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks in Sioux City. I coached college football for 10 years as an assistant on the Division III and NAIA levels (Nebraska Wesleyan, Midland University, and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  I currently coach track for Viterbo University – 3 years – Director of Horizontal and Vertical Jumps.

I currently own and operate the College Gridiron Showcase – - The largest Post-Season, College Football All-Star Event in the country.   I started at Viterbo University in Graduate Admissions with a territory in Education.   Since I have been moved to Athletics and Student Engagement. Married to Kari and has twin boys – Jonas and Jeremiah. 

Michael González - Baby-boomer purposed to stay in the game and contribute to the best interests of education stakeholders (all of us!). Results-driven, strategic minded and impassioned servant leader always looking forward to engaging most anyone in all that is #collaboration and #education! Currently Director, Partnership Development and Site Coordinator at Viterbo University (Iowa Center). Responsible for partner development, student/faculty recruitment, staffing, and operations management of the Viterbo University Iowa Center, delivering graduate programs/curriculum in education throughout the state of Iowa. Seeking to serve the next generation and non-traditional students in a manner that creates value for education/employer/entrepreneur stakeholders! Purpose-driven delivering stakeholder value in Higher Education sector for 16+ years and going strong facilitating high-value K-12/Higher Education partner relationships. Successful in delivering profitable operational responsibilities in current role. Demonstrated success working in the highly competitive and ever-changing for the better in higher education sector. Managed team performance in student service areas of admission, registration, financial aid, orientation, and student advisement. Strong retail and performance management experience with leaders in the industry, including significant HR experience in hiring, training & development, performance management, worker compensation, and employment grievances. Strong critical thinking, conflict management and resolution skills, with interpersonal skills well developed among diverse populations during 20+ years in service oriented public/private organizations and Higher Education.

Leadership at Noon: Shaundel Spivey, Director of Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge-- Tuesday, Oct. 12th Noon - 1:00PM

Shaundel Spivey serves as the first director of Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge. He recently served as the director of Upward Bound at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He is a community organizer and very passionate about social justice, equity, and community. Spivey is someone who serves in many capacities in the community and is always willing to share his knowledge and experience to help the community and others. He serves on the School District of La Crosse school board and serves as a Racial Justice training consultant in the community. Spivey also serves on the Governor's Equity and Inclusion Council. He is from Milwaukee and is a two-time alum of UW-L (2012 and 2015), as well as a Western Technical College alum (2014). Spivey is currently in the Counselor Education and Supervision doctoral program at Viterbo.   

In 2015, Spivey co-founded the organization Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge. The purpose was to build space and opportunities for black people, especially black youth, to feel empowered and knowledgeable about their power and significance in the community.

RECORDING AVAILABLE: Eboné Bell: Social Justice: How to be a Good Ally -- Tuesday, Oct. 12th 7:00PM @ Nursing 196

Join the Breaking Barriers Diversity Club in welcoming Eboné Bell to Viterbo!

The future of diversity includes transformation, connection, acceptance, and real change. Eboné Bell doesn’t want to just create change, she believes in creating intentional change. She encourages students to discover and explore how they show up in the world.

Social Justice: How to be a Good Ally

We get it. You have Black and Brown friends and colleagues you adore. You exclaim, “Black Lives Matter!” For your LGBTQ friends, you believe “Love is Love”, and you post supportive images on your social media…but is that enough?

This program dives deeper into ways you can show up as an ally, not only during social justice movements but also in everyday life. Participants will take a hard look at how they currently show up in these spaces and how they can do better (with the right tools). Eboné will share ineffective vs. effective ways of ally activism. Participants will also look at breaking through uncomfortability and standing in their purpose. Now more than ever your voice is needed, no matter who you are!

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • An understanding of why allyship is important
  • Identifying forms of ally activism
  • How and when to speak up
  • How to be empowered (and confident) around uncomfortable conversations

Access the recording of the event HERE until November 10th 2021

Las Magnificas -- Wednesday Oct. 13th 7:00PM @ Fine Arts FSPA Lobby

LAS MAGNIFICAS is a Chamber Music Theatre piece for singing actress and trio (cello, piano, and percussion) exploring the lives and times of three towering figures in Latin American cultural history: the iconic Mexican Ranchera singer Chavela Vargas, Cuban singer Celia Cruz, “The Queen of Salsa”, and Chilean singer Violeta Parra, the Mother of Latin American Folk Music. Text by Marjorie Agosin. Music to include songs made famous by the artists: Tu Voz, Gracias a la Vida, La Vida es un Carnaval, La Llorona and Volver a los 17, as well as instrumental music by Latin American composers: Ernesto Lecuona, Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Victor Jara, and Tania Leon.

A CHAMBER MUSIC THEATRE WORK CONCEIVED AND PERFORMED BY THE CORE ENSEMBLE Featuring Nadya Encarnacio N as Chavela Vargas, Celia Cruz, and Violeta Para and Mikael Darmanie, piano

Special thanks to our sponsors: D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics and Leadership; Department of Ethics, Culture, and Society; Department of English and World Languages; Core Curriculum; Office of Multicultural Student Success and Global Engagement; Day of Giving - Social Justice and Equity Funds


Waking Up White Collaborative (Virtual @ Various Dates & Times)

The Waking Up White Collaborative in La Crosse is hosting many free events leading up to the White Privilege Symposium on December 3rd & 4th at the La Crosse Center. Upcoming events with the Waking Up White Collaborative include book discussions on a variety of topics and the following keynote speakers:

Saturday, October 9th 4PM @ Zoom:  "Waking Up White- Through The Eyes of an Interracial Couple" - Dr. Bee Lo & Lynette Prieur Lo 

Monday, October 11th 7PM @ Zoom: "Returning To Ourselves" - Dr. Roger Kuhn

Register for the events and learn more HERE