Sacred Heart is welcoming back one of its own to help further its goal of improving multiculturalism, diversity and equity on campus and creating a safe and welcoming environment where every person is valued, cared for and respected.
Marian Rosario, a 2016 SHA graduate, will lead the school's efforts to form a Black Student Union (BSU) and will serve as the group's moderator. Students who identify as Black or Brown were invited to join the new affinity group earlier this fall. Ms. Rosario hosted a virtual meeting with interested middle school and upper school students in September, and hosted the first BSU lunchtime meeting on campus on October 1.
"I had a good high school experience, and I am excited to be back and to have the opportunity to work with students," Ms. Rosario says. "But while my overall experience at SHA was a more positive one than some of my minority peers had, it still felt incomplete. There was an extra level of support that we as minority students needed and wanted to feel embraced wholeheartedly by the Sacred Heart community that hadn't yet been established. We needed support from people who looked like us and understood our experience. Now, as an established Alum, I feel a responsibility to the current students to assist in the process of solidifying that support."
Ms. Rosario graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hampton University in Hampton, VA, in 2020 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. While in college, she was involved with several leadership and service-based organizations that allowed her opportunities to spearhead community partnerships with different non-profit programs. Her area of emphasis focused on the mentorship of local youth girls.
Aside from working with Sacred Heart, Ms. Rosario is continuing her commitment to nonprofit work as she currently serves as an Academic Coordinator for Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.
She has big plans for her work at SHA. She is getting ready to launch a pilot program called "Mentor Mondays" that will pair up members of the BSU with Black or Brown members of the SHA Alumnae Association who will help mentor and support them. Ms. Rosario is also going to be on campus for a weekly "Talk to Me Thursday" lunch where BSU members can eat together, relax, share experiences, and more.
"This is a chance for minority students to have a place to talk, to make their voices heard, to be themselves," Ms. Rosario says. "And equally as important, it gives them a liaison back to the rest of the SHA community."
She continues: "If we love the school, we must be the change. I took on this role because I want it to be a place that we are all proud of. I want it to be a place where we all want to send our daughters."