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FLP program cancelled

Allen Murphy | Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Freshman Peer Leaders (FPL) program, an effort to acclimate freshmen with leadership experience in their local parishes to Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry, has been cancelled this year.

The effectiveness of the decision will be evaluated at the end of the year, and depending on the findings, the program could be reinstituted, said Brett Perkins, director of Protestant Student Resources and Catholic Peer Ministry.

Perkins, the former FPL director, said the program wasn’t yielding the results Campus Ministry expected.

“The goals are really trying to get freshmen involved in Campus Ministry programs in a leadership capacity as soon as possible, as well as faith formation and fellowship,” he said.

Instead, due to the time constraints placed on students by their busy schedules, freshmen involved in FPL found it difficult to take part in other Campus Ministry offerings.

“We found that oftentimes FPL was the only Campus Ministry activity freshmen could commit to,” Perkins said. “Once FPLs became sophomores, they began to get involved in other Campus Ministry programming on campus, at the same time their non-FPL classmates were already assuming leadership roles in [their respective] programs.”

He said these dynamics were contrary to FPL’s core mission of readying students for leadership roles in Campus Ministry early in their Notre Dame career.

“We were discovering that FPLs were often a whole year behind in assuming such leadership roles,” Perkins said.

At the end of the year, Campus Ministry should have an idea of how many freshmen get involved in its programming without FPL. At that point, the program will be reevaluated, he said.

However, Parish Confirmation Retreats – an important component of the FPL program – have not been cancelled.

“We’ll still continue [them] in the second semester,” Perkins said. “[They] will be open to students of any class year, with a preference still towards freshmen who are looking to get involved in leadership.”

Many other activities enjoyed by Freshman Peer Leaders, such as tours of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and trips to local Eastern Rite Catholic celebrations, will continue to be offered as well.