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Alumnus becomes acting CSC director

| Thursday, August 31, 2017

In May, Fr. Kevin Sandberg was appointed the acting executive director of the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) for the 2017–2018 academic year, while Fr. Paul Kollman, the executive director of the center is on leave to conduct research.

Sandberg, a Notre Dame alumnus, said he has been involved in the CSC since its founding. During his undergraduate years at Notre Dame, he participated in the Community of the International Lay Apostolate (CILA) which Sandberg said helped form the basis for the CSC. Members of CILA volunteered in South Bend, went to Appalachia during fall break and spent summers in Mexico, he said.

“All of those things precede the existence of the Center for Social Concerns because the center came to be in 1983, out of three things: that student group, the Office of Volunteer Services and the Center for Experiential Learning,” Sandberg said.

Sandberg said his new role at the Center for Social Concerns will give him the opportunity to “form hearts and minds,” — one  of the main focuses of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

“The trick of it is, the heart is the point of integration, right?” he said. “It’s not a separate entity from the mind. The heart is where the mind is put into action and where the mind can settle on both a community as well as be called into a commitment.”

One of the most challenging aspects of his new role will be to continue to cultivate the Holy Cross pillar of family at the CSC as it expands, Sandberg said.

“I mean I think one of the other things is ‘Now when you’re in charge, how do you approach that?’ and the goal is to help the center as it keeps getting bigger to remain a family,” he said. “That’s the real challenge I think for us. I think the challenge for me is to provide leadership — that is, what we call servant leadership.”

Sandberg said he has looked to Fr. Don McNeill, the late founder of the CSC, as a mentor.

“I think the principle thing I learned from Fr. Don is to listen because he always turned it back around to you and he wanted not to talk about himself but to talk about you and he wanted you to be able to listen to yourself,” Sandberg said. “So he became a sounding board for your inner thoughts.”

Annie Cahill Kelly, director of Community Partnerships and Service Learning at the CSC, said the center was founded on the principles of the Bible verse, Micah 6:8 — a verse which she said both McNeill and Sandberg embodied.

“It [says] ‘This is what the Lord asks of you, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God,’” she said. “So those are very much the foundational values of the center — to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with God.”

Cahill Kelly described Sandberg as a “pastoral presence” who has taken to heart the values of the Center for Social Concerns.

“He’s continuing in the good tradition — the great tradition of not only Fr. Don [McNeill], but then Fr. Bill [Lies] and Fr. Paul [Kollman] and kind of guiding us this year as the acting director,” she said. “I’m certain many good things will be born this year of our collaborative work.”

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