The Pope Francis Voter Tour Visits the University of Detroit Mercy

Colin Martinez-Longmore
October 25, 2022

The Pope Francis Voter Tour made its first college stop in Detroit at the University of Detroit Mercy. UDM is a Catholic school sponsored by both the Jesuits and the Sisters of Mercy, serving over 5,000 students all throughout the metro Detroit area. The student body is diverse and vibrant, which provided a wonderful atmosphere of interfaith and ecumenical encounters during our time there.

We connected with the University Ministry for our visit, specifically with Sr. Erin McDonald, CSJ, who was our gracious host and collaborator for our events. Sr. Erin is a social worker and serves as the University Minister for Service and Justice, where she is in charge of building community relationships, as well as programming various service and social justice opportunities. Together, we planned to bring our Becoming Pope Francis Voters workshop to the students, to help mobilize and encourage young voters of faith to do the work of being multi-issue voters during the midterm elections!

Our day began with a bit of tabling at the University Library. We set up shop near the entrance, and began to have conversations with some of the students who were walking by. Using our website Turbovote link, we were able to help students check their voter registration status and register themselves if needed. We also shared some NETWORK resources, like our Equally Sacred Checklist, and invited them to join us for our workshop that evening. And since no tabling is complete without some fun goodies, we gave away lots of Halloween candy as well.

Later that evening, we moved over to the university’s beautifully designed Loranger Architecture Building, where we hosted our workshop. There were about 20 students who participated in the interactive workshop, where we talked about what it means to be a Pope Francis Voter. The room buzzed with conversation during the breakout small group sessions and we heard honest reflections from a few students about their hopes for the midterm elections and beyond.

It was a blessing to be able to spend time with the University of Detroit Mercy community. We’re grateful to Sr. Erin McDonald, CSJ, the University Ministry and all of the students who joined us in doing the work to build a multi-racial and inclusive democracy.