Mission and Ministry remains positive while cutting expenses
A New Orleans Comic Con attendee browses through a selection of posters. Lovers of science fiction and comic books packed the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for the event from Jan. 7 through Jan. 9. LAUREN PATTON/The Maroon
The Office of Mission and Ministry is working toward creative ways to eliminate costs within its office without altering its missions.
Kurt Bindewald, director of University Ministry and associate director of Mission and Ministry, said with reductions in the operating budget, the Office of Mission and Ministry has already dealt with having to make changes but has found positivity in the obstacle.
"There have been a lot of blessings when you are forced to look more intently and carefully in how you spend your money," Bindewald said.
Some ways the office is saving money are raising retreat costs, printing less and depending more on the Internet for marketing.
Laura Alexander, University Ministry assistant director and associate chaplain for retreats and Christian life communities, said the retreat costs were raised the past academic year. The weekend retreats went from $30 to $40, and the one-night retreats are now $20 instead of $15.
Alexander said that the raised costs have not become a concern to students, as there has been an increase in the number of students attending retreats.
"It shows, first of all, that there is a real need, hunger and desire for students to have these experiences of reflecting on their lives and connecting with God," Alexander said. "Students also really understand that when they are able to pay the $40, then we are able to give more financial assistance to those who cannot pay."
Mission and Ministry was conscious of saving and reducing costs before the 2012-2013 year began.
"We had a couple of positions that, knowing there might be an issue with finances, we did not fill. So we were able to save some money by having some open positions that we did not fill that we could then return that salary money back to the university," Bindewald said.
Additional money was saved this academic year after two Mission and Ministry employees qualified for and accepted the voluntary severance packages, Bindewald said.
Bindewald said the office's current staff is finding ways to be more creative and share responsibilities instead of chaplains or assistant chaplains carrying most responsibilities, as has been the case before.
Bindewald said the decisions made go back to upholding Jesuit ideals and what it means to follow St. Ignatius of Loyola's lead.
"Ignatius always talked about looking at every opportunity, whether it's good or bad, to really see where the blessings or graces might come from," Bindewald said.
Lauren Cutuli may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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