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Jay Verzosa

Director of Campus Ministry

Jay smiling toward the camera wearing a sweater, half zipped up, with a maroon tie, white shirt, wire framed glasses, black hair

Favorite college memory?  (from which college?)

I went to Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA, and I have so many favorite memories that it's hard to choose just one. It's no small thing to say that my undergraduate experience is the reason I work in higher education now, and that I try to give to students what I myself was given. One of my most transformative college experiences was when I studied abroad.

I spent the summer before my senior year studying at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. One of the great things about the program was that it happened during the summer, so I didn't lose any part of my junior or senior years being away from campus. The other great thing was that I went with two of my closest friends, and all of the other students in the program were also from Boston College, so all my new friends were on campus with me when I returned to school in the fall. I also spent extra time abroad, both before my classes started and after the program was finished, so not only did I see most of Ireland, but I also spent time in England, France, Switzerland, and Italy.

What advice would you give to your college self?

The advice I would give to my college self is the advice I try to give to students now: Figure out what brings you joy—you can't always be happy, but you can always be joyful; trust yourself, use your head and follow your heart, and what will happen will be what you need to happen even if it's not what you want to happen; and most importantly, recognize that everything is a gift, even if you're not initially grateful for it, even if it's something painful or something you don't want. All we experience, everything—it's all a gift, so be thankful, and if you can always be thankful, then life will always be amazing.

How would you define "values?”

Values are the things that we hold to be the most important and the most meaningful, the things we consider to be truest in life, and the guidelines that are most integral and most central to how we live and act.

What does the Rosemont Mission mean to you?

Because of my role at the College, I tend to look at the Rosemont Mission as a whole. The Mission is who we've been, who we are, and who we aspire to be as a community, as a Catholic school, and as an institution of higher learning. It's our roots and our foundations, it's a description of how we try to move through our days, it's the light we follow when we feel like the way is uncertain. The Mission helps us to remember and recognize who we are when we are at our best.

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

I'd be a boot, because how often I've worn boots throughout my life, and I think they represent both what I've experienced and who I am when I'm at my best. My favorite pair of boots were the pair I wore when I studied abroad, so they'd walked the streets of Dublin and London, Rome and Paris, stepped onstage at the National Theater of Ireland, climbed the Swiss Alps, walked the aisles of St. Peter's Cathedral in Vatican City.

I use boots on service immersion trips and other times when I do volunteer service, and when I travel, I usually have a pair of boots with me. Both service immersion and travel are ways that we can connect with others, especially others with different backgrounds and experiences than our own. Some of the best work we can do in our lives is to build authentic relationships with others, which results in more understanding, more compassion, and a lived sense of Mother Teresa's assertion that all of us who live in this world—we belong to each other.

 

Campus Involvement: Campus Ministry, Spiritual and Leadership Development, Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer Break Service Trips, Athletics, Liturgy, Interfaith Communications, College Events


Name five things you love (other than your family) or love doing?

In no particular order:

  1. I love discovering new music, whether it's a new artist that's just getting started, or deep cuts from bands I already know. There's nothing quite like hearing a great song for the first time!
  2. I love to travel, and I try to experience a place as if I lived there rather than as a tourist. I might visit one tourist spot, and the rest of the trip I'll focus on where the locals spend their time.
  3. I love to read and write (I was an English major in college, writing concentration), though I don't have as much time to write as I'd like. As much as I love bookstores and reading real books, I have to admit that I do like reading on my Kindle.
  4. I love food—shopping for food, trying new food, making food and experimenting with new recipes, sharing food with other people, learning what someone's favorite food is and what it means to them—it's all good! My favorite food is food that is shared, though when I was poor college student, I think my favorite food was food that was free!
  5. This might sound a little cheesy—I love ministry and service, and I love doing what I do at Rosemont. I know that the majority of people can't say what I can say: I love my job. For me, it's not just a paycheck, but it's a calling, a vocation, a sense of purpose, and yes, it's a mission. It also goes beyond a profession and is more a point of view, a way of understanding the world, and an approach to life.

What goal are you currently trying to achieve?

An ongoing goal is that I'm always trying to learn more, and currently, I'm trying to teach myself how to play the piano. I'm also trying to teach myself how to draw, which can be psychologically difficult because my brother is an art school graduate and a phenomenal artist!

 

Who or what inspires you?

The women and men who have been my teachers, mentors, and friends over the years—they all inspire me, so I can't name just a one or two. They're artists and professors, counselors and campus ministers, teachers and social workers, and everything in between. They work in places as diverse as soup kitchens and universities, small towns and big cities, in the United States, and around the world. The traits they have in common are that they love what they do, they reach such high levels of excellence in so many things, they're loved and respected by so many people, and most of all, each is an incredibly kind and generous person who inspires so many others to be the best version of themselves.

Where is the furthest place you have traveled?

The furthest place I've traveled is the Philippines, where both my parents were born. I've only been there a couple times, all when I was a kid. I was born in Baltimore, MD, and there's a decent sized Filipino community there, so my experience of the Philippines was of a place that was familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time. It's a strange thing to feel like you're at home and feel like a stranger in a strange land all at the same time.

Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with Bill Gates or Bono?

It all depends! If I had my guitar with me, then I'd probably pick Bono so we could do some songs together! I also think it would be interesting to have a conversation with him about some of the work he's done for debt relief in developing countries.

Guitar aside, though, I think I'd rather be able to spend time talking with Bill Gates because he's been such a generous philanthropist, especially in supporting initiatives that improve educational resources and opportunities, as well as efforts to eliminate poverty and improve world health.