Five years ago, Andy Costigan could be found in the Student Union office, and now you can find him up the ramp in room 31 in the Campus Ministry hallway. Costigan, a graduate of the John Carroll University class of 2008, returned to JCU after five years to take over as a campus minister and coordinator of immersion experiences.
During his undergraduate career at JCU, Costigan majored in Spanish and economics, and decided to continue his education at Boston College, where he received his graduate degree in theology and education.
Costigan is from Akron, Ohio and attended St. Vincent-St. Mary High School − a school that is best known as LeBron James’ alma mater.
“I went to school with LeBron at the same time. He graduated in 2003 and I graduated in 2004, so we had a couple of classes together. I lived in Akron my whole life,” Costigan said.
While he was a student at JCU, Costigan was actively involved in multiple outlets on campus. He explained how being a member of Student Union opened his eyes to everything happening on campus.
“You see so many different things that are happening and connect with faculty and administrators in a different way,” Costigan said.
Costigan also served as Student Union president in 2007, and explained the various challenges and rewards that the position provides.
“When you run Student Union, you’re not on par with necessarily running a department within student affairs, but you kind of feel like it,” Costigan said. “You intimately get to know not only your peers, but the faculty and staff as well.”
Costigan took great care in trying to get involved in many different aspects of the JCU community. He worked as a resident assistant, was one of the founders of the JCU Relay for Life program and even worked with the Office of Campus Ministry.
After he graduated, Costigan lived in Los Angeles for a year while working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, doing service through their program. When he finished that program, Costigan had a traveling job while he completed his graduate degree at Boston College. His most recent job was located in Washington, D.C.
“I was working in D.C with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, a part of the National Council for Higher Education,” Costigan said. “It was great work and I did love it, but there was not much people interaction in any capacity, so that was a little draining. I wanted to work in higher education because I really liked working with students, so I took this opportunity.”
Costigan is looking forward to his work with the immersion program and wants to make sure that the program runs smoothly during his first year at the helm.
“People come back and say they see the world differently and it may change what they want to do; it’s very powerful that way. The potential for immersions are incredible,” Costigan said.
Previously, the immersion program was jointly run by Campus Ministry and The Center for Service and Social Action with Carrie Pollick and Ted Steiner as the two point coordinators. As of this year, the program is exclusively run by Campus Ministry.
“The joy of this work is that I make it happen, but there are student coordinators who do a lot of work as well as well as faculty, staff and administrators. I do a lot of the behind the scenes work,” Costigan said.
The Campus Ministry department has not changed much since Costigan was at JCU as an undergrad, and he is looking forward to working with the staff this year. “John Scarano, Paula Fitzgerald and Gail Roussey were all here when I was here in my undergrad,” Costigan said. “The chance to come back and work with them is great. I looked up to them and admired them, and now that they’re my colleagues, it’s a real blessing.”
While the immersion program is going to take up the majority of his time, Costigan is also going to work with other Campus Ministry programs such as Seeds of Hope, the big brothers and big sisters program at JCU. He is also going to be pastorally available to any JCU student.
“I will be helping students grapple with the big questions that college-aged people go through at this formative point in their lives,” said Costigan.
He is particularly inspired by the energy and ambition that he sees in JCU students, especially in regards to their excitement about the immersion program.
“It’s so great when I have students come into my office and say, ‘I’m going to Guatemala and I’m just so excited.’ It’s a naïve excitement, but also a realistic excitement. They know that they’re going in and they’re going to see a lot of poverty,” said Costigan. “They want to go there, be there, see it and learn about it, and I think that’s really inspiring.”
Costigan explained that he is excited about being back at JCU and is looking forward to spending time fostering the JCU community and helping students experience immersions.
“Immersions are transformational experiences where you walk with different people and see the world through a different lens. It’s a lot to process and we need people here to help students do that,” said Costigan.