Mention the name "Stella" on the St. Ambrose campus and it's not a movie (old or new) that comes to mind. What comes to mind is service-with a capital "S."
Stella O'Rourke '05, '07 MOL, outgoing director of co-curricular service and justice ministry, spearheads many of the larger service initiatives on campus: Urban Plunge, Bee the Difference Day, Ambrosians for Peace and Justice, semester and spring break service trips.
She grew up on a farm near North English, Iowa. The population of students living on campus is bigger than that of her hometown.
The high school homecoming queen became "painfully shy" as a first-year Ambrosian (and stayed in her room a lot).
She's been to Ireland, India, Europe and South America.
An Ambrosian, Through and Through
As a little girl, O'Rourke visited campus with her father, who had spent a year at St. Ambrose. She remembers him holding her up and pointing to the window of the Davis Hall room where he lived. "I'm going to go (to school) where my daddy went," declared little Stella. After earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees at St. Ambrose, O'Rourke was hired as a member of the Campus Ministry team in 2008.
So, What's ‘Service'?
Caring enough about others to do what's right, big or small, according to O'Rourke. "Building, feeding, conversing, whatever it takes."
The "service of being present" means we stop to talk, really listen, really pay attention, said O'Rourke. "Whether I stop typing in order to give a student my undivided attention or listen carefully to the story of a homeless man in Chicago."
She has a "ridiculous obsession" for RipStiks (a type of skateboard. Ask her).
In Her Words
"I think in terms of blessings; I hope that everyone has their basic needs met."
"I have the job I prayed for."