When I was first brought on as CRL’s communications coordinator just over a year ago, my most important task at the time wasn’t writing blog posts or coming up with clever graphics for social media. In fact, it had nothing to do with communications.
Instead, the most important thing I did that first month on the job was to move furniture; to sweep out old basements; and to recycle files. Lots and lots of files.
You see, last summer CRL made the move to St. Paul, Minnesota after over 70 years of calling Des Moines, Iowa our home. The move was arduous, as we cleaned out the office that had housed CRL’s material and manpower for several decades. It was also bittersweet, especially for longtime employees. To them, the house that was home to CRL in that quiet Des Moines neighborhood wasn’t just a structure; it was the physical context for all the incredible work and campaigns that the organization had accomplished in its history. The significance of what was happening was even evident to me, a green-behind-the-ears newbie who had no connection with Des Moines or the organization’s past.
So in some sense, yes, the move was difficult. But in many ways over the past year, the decision has been vindicated.
Our new home at the University of St. Thomas has proved to be incredibly hospitable. With our headquarters now officially on campus, we have forged incredible relationships with faculty and staff, many of whom come from small towns and are eager to support our mission and work.
These relationships have led to tangible advantages for CRL. For instance, we hosted the Faith, Food & the Environment symposium on campus last November, bringing over 70 farm and food leaders and theologians together in UST’s Woulfe Alumni Hall. Our unique place at St. Thomas enabled us to coordinate everything from parking to food services for the three day conference.
Being on campus has also allowed us to utilize services like St. Thomas’s printing and mailing, enhancing our efficiency, professionalism, and reach in our effort to support the Church in the countryside.
And, of course, the relationships formed with individuals at UST have been fruitful in their own right. From Dr. Christopher Thompson at the Saint Paul Seminary or Dr. Michael Naughton at the Center for Catholic Studies, to the undergraduate students who’ve served as interns, we’ve been blessed to work with such talented and Christ-centered people.
Leaving Des Moines behind was certainly a challenge, and coming to St. Paul was certainly a leap of faith. But, by all accounts, it seems to have been the right course of action.
If you want to write to us, make sure to do so at our St. Paul location!
University of St. Thomas
Mail Number 4080
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105-1078