Georgetown Welcomes its First Fellow from the Jesuit Volunteer Corp

In a joint hiring between Mission & Ministry and the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service (CSJ), Georgetown University has hired Angela Owczarek as its first Jesuit Volunteer from the Jesuit Volunteer Corp (JVC). The JVC is the largest lay Catholic full-time volunteer program in the world, with over 10,000 participants who have served tens of thousands of individuals and families in various organizations worldwide since its inception. The JVC’s year-long post-graduate service opportunity is based on the four values of spirituality, social justice, simple living and community, and Angela sees her role at the university as an opportunity for students to further engage with the Jesuit spirit.

Photo of me“[It’s an] invitation for students who engage with Campus Ministry to view their faith as a call to be present with those experiencing injustice outside Georgetown’s gates,” said Owczarek about the purpose of her position. Her time is split evenly between the CSJ, Campus Ministry and the Georgetown Ministry Center, a drop-in center for people experiencing homelessness in the Georgetown neighborhood. She hopes to increase contact and communication between students on Georgetown’s campus and individuals experiencing homelessness in DC. This involves a range of activities, from engaging students in weekly service at Georgetown Ministry Center to creating opportunities for advocacy, outreach and faith-sharing surrounding homelessness.

Owczarek grew up in San Francisco and was initially formed by Ignatian values at her Jesuit high school, where she worked weekly both tutoring children of homeless families and staffing a large dining room that served over 2,000 meals to its unhoused guests every day. She then attended Fordham University (also a Jesuit institution), where she helped coordinate homelessness outreach efforts like the Midnight Run program, which delivers food and clothing to individuals sleeping on the streets. Last year, during her first year as a Jesuit Volunteer, Owczarek ran a drop-in center for people experiencing homelessness in New Orleans. Now, in her second year with JVC, she brings her experience to D.C. “I’ve spent a decade with the Jesuits,” she said. Owczarek is passionate about her desire to support those who experience the crises of poverty and homelessness. She plans to bring that same passion and compassion to her work here at Georgetown.

“I’m also here to be a presence on campus,” Owczarek said, speaking about her job being both a resource for students to explore the call of Jesuit values and an opportunity for her to help Georgetown reach “beyond its gates.” She sees her position at the university as a model of an alternative option for life after graduation and hopes to give all Georgetown students the ability to connect with their own Jesuit callings, whether they be in small or large parts of their lives.

“I was surprised,” Owczarek said, “by [Georgetown] students’ willingness around homelessness. Students are already on board. [They] get it and what the Jesuit mission means. [They] aren’t uncertain or afraid. They just need connections, and I am eager to try to provide those.” It is this zeal from all aspects of the university, from students to the departments that hired her, that makes Owczarek feel so welcomed and supported here on the Hilltop.

Written by Jeremy Koss, Communications & Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Campus Ministry

Mission and Ministry