Annemarie Barrett

Annemarie Barrett, a Gannon Scholar, is involved with the Loyola Anti-War Network, the Climate Action Team, and she has also served as a student representative, for two years, on the Shareholder Advocacy Committee (SAC). Barrett is a member of the Maroon and Gold Society and she works as the student co-director of the Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) program in Campus Ministry and she is also a Loyola ABI Companion.

How did you get involved in research/service at Loyola?

In the second semester of my first year at Loyola, I was invited to join Loyola’s Shareholder Advocacy Committee (SAC). I was a part of the Loyola Anti-War Network and I wanted to better understand the history of Loyola’s investments and how they related to the socially responsible mission of the University. The SAC is comprised of students, faculty, and staff who work together, along with other institutions and non-profit organizations, to utilize our power as shareholders in order to make the practices of companies that we invest in more just.

What do you think are the highlights of your experience at Loyola?

As a member of the SAC, I was able to travel with other students to communities in West Virginia and Washington, DC to see firsthand the sites of the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in the Appalachia region and engage in the movement to demand alternatives to our country’s dependency on these destructive practices. Also, this past spring, I studied and served for four months, through the Casa de la Solidaridad program, in San Salvador, El Salvador.

What do you think differentiates Loyola from other universities?

The other day in my classroom, another student and I asked if we could make announcements before we began the class. The professor agreed, and so the other student shared the schedule for Hunger Week, while I shared information about the Alternative Break Immersion program. Soon after, other students in the class raised their hands hoping to announce other upcoming opportunities, some about medical brigades traveling abroad and another about a project dealing with worker’s rights. After we finished the exhaustive announcements, our professor remarked that this is why he loves Loyola, because at other universities the announcements that students make aren’t at all like the announcements and the work that students are involved in here. According to the professor, here, students care and commit to social justice and service. I came to Loyola because I wanted to be a part of a community of people committed to social justice and service, and that is exactly what I have found.

What was your "ah ha" moment here?

I think my “ah ha” moment came after I returned to Loyola from being abroad in El Salvador. In El Salvador I became friends with people who have worked their whole lives wanting an education, only to drop out because they can no longer afford it, or never could afford it in the first place. They looked me in the eyes and told me that when I go back to Chicago, I better pursue my education, because if I have these opportunities, I better take advantage of them. This gets me out of bed in the morning. This has affected how I look at my education; it is not about grades, but I’ve begun to ask myself, what am I learning? This is so obvious, but it took me slowing down and listening to those Salvadoran friends to really internalize what my education can be.