Loyola University Chicago

Weekend of Excellence


Kelly Silay

Kelly Silay
Peace Studies

Meet Kelly Silay, a well-rounded graduating senior at Loyola. Silay is a Water Tower Campus Core Team member, an Alternative Break Immersion Companion, a member of the Maroon & Gold Society, and involved in many campus activities and other organizations, and that is only the beginning of what Silay does here at Loyola.

What has been a motivating factor for you in your work here at Loyola?

Loyola has helped me discover that I truly want to be of service to others and be a woman for others. I want to care for people by supporting them, inspiring who they are, and empowering them to achieve and succeed. This desire has motivated and driven me to use my talents to serve others.

How did you get involved in service at Loyola?

I saw an advertisement on campus calling for team members for the Hunger Week education committee. At the first meeting, I was welcomed by a senior student who had been working with Hunger Week for several years. Despite all her experience and accomplishments, she took the time to explain Hunger Week to me from the bottom up, leaving no detail in between unmentioned. During this meeting, I was also welcomed and introduced to the faculty member advising Hunger Week. Immediately, her calm and caring presence encouraged me to open up in ways I never knew. She inspired me to commit to the tasks at hand. She also inspired me to commit to service beyond Hunger Week. From there, I joined Loyola4Chicago, the Explore Retreat, and numerous other service and ministry opportunities.

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

Loyola4Chicago opened my eyes to the injustices in our city and throughout the world. This was the first time I had ever experienced poverty and inequality. The Explore Retreat my freshman year allowed me to articulate these feelings and provided me some direction for where I wanted to go in my four years at Loyola.

What was your "ah ha" moment here?

I was asked to give a speech at the Parents Fund Reception over Homecoming Weekend. I had to summarize my time at Loyola in a way that would let the parents attending the event know how much I appreciated their support. This task required a lot of reflection, especially on how to articulate what I was specifically thankful for. I knew I was grateful and have felt this gratitude many times over my years at Loyola, but I could never quite articulate who it was for or what it was for. In giving the speech I created from immense reflection, in speaking from my heart truly, and in hearing the honest reactions of the parents at the event, I had my greatest “ah ha” moment at Loyola.

What do you like most about Loyola?

I love that Loyola really takes a vested interested in who you are. Loyola is not only concerned with the degree you receive, but who you are when you walk across the stage and receive it. Loyola cares what happens to students beyond the classroom each and every year they are here. This is truly remarkable. Never have I felt so accepted and encouraged by anyone outside of my family. In four years, Loyola has become my second family and my second home.