Discernment

Discernment typically takes place in April and is a process of reflecting on the past year of Catholic Student Ministry at the University of Virginia and choosing the students who will serve you as the CSM team next year! All Catholic undergraduate students at the University of Virginia are welcome and encouraged to attend, as are Catholic undergraduate students from neighboring schools who participate in CSM events.

Discernment I: The State of the Union
We will reflect on the ministry of CSM during the 2010-2011 school year, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and potential for growth. This will help frame the context of our hopes for the next CSM team members. We will also go over the process for selecting the new team, which will take place over the following two weeks.

After this meeting, nominations will be accepted for the positions of CSM Chair and Vice Chair. During this time, our current Chair and Vice Chair will make themselves available to talk to prospective candidates and answer any questions they may have.

Discernment II: Discernment of CSM Chair and Vice Chair
At this meeting, the nominees for Chair and Vice Chair will be considered, and a new Chair and Vice Chair will be chosen.

A series of ballots will be taken (one vote per student; must be present to vote) with the results posted after each ballot and opportunity for discussion, until one candidate receives at least two thirds of the votes. If on the seventh ballot no candidate receives a two thirds majority, the candidate with the most votes receives the position. If there is a tie, the campus minister and current Team will meet and decide who will receive the position. The idea behind this is that after each ballot, students may see the level of support each candidate has in votes, and then may vote differently on the next ballot if they so choose. This is the way that elections are carried out in the Dominican Order, and while it is a discernment and discussion process, it also makes the selection a bit more streamlined than waiting for a consensus.

Once the Chair and Vice Chair are chosen, nominations will be accepted for the other positions on the CSM student leadership team: Communications Chair; Retreats Chair; Faith Formation Chair; Justice and Peace Chair; Outreach Chair; Social Chair, and Worship Chair. During this time, our current student leaders in these positions will make themselves available to talk to prospective candidates and answer any questions they may have.

Discernment III: Discernment of the remaining CSM student leadership team members
At this meeting, the nominees for Communications Chair, Retreats Chair, Faith Formation Chair, Justice and Peace Chair, Outreach Chair, Social Chair, and Worship Chair will be considered and the new student team members will be chosen. The selection process for these students will be the same as it was last year: the positions are chosen successively, with a discussion and a vote. Each voting student gives their top three choices for each chair, with their first choice getting three points, second choice two points, and third choice one point. No results are given until all elections have taken place. If one candidate has the most points for two positions, the candidate can choose one, and the other position is given to the candidate with the second highest number of points.

All nominations are binding, meaning that if a person accepts a nomination and is discerned for that position, he or she will be obligated to take the position.

If you have any questions about the discernment process, please feel free to ask Fr. Stephen, John Hopke, or any of the CSM team members. See the following documents from Discernment I 2012 for more information.

Discernment I
Discernment I – Chairs