Meet Graciela Covarrubias: Vincentian in Action

Chae Wohn
June 08, 2017

Graciela Covarrubias takes the Vincentian question, "What must be done?" to heart. When this third-year student observed her peers having trouble defining DePaul's mission, she decided to take action.

"Over time, I noticed that other students couldn't explain DePaul's mission much beyond the Vincentian question," Covarrubias says.

This observation led her to the Office of Mission and Values during her sophomore year to coordinate workshops designed to bring the mission to students, which she still does today.

In this role, she speaks with members of student organizations' executive boards, researches that organization's mission, and then builds a workshop tailored to the student group's unique issues and knowledge of St. Vincent's mission. The workshop usually entails a presentation illustrating similarities between the student organization's and DePaul's missions, and ways to resolve issues through this Vincentian lens.

"I try to keep the workshop organic and use Vincentian stories to help start discussions on issues the organization is facing," says Covarrubias, who is majoring in organizational communication and public relations & advertising. She also is pursuing a dual concentration master's degree in organizational and multicultural communication through DePaul's combined degree program.

During the 2016-17 academic year, Covarrubias served as the Student Government Association's senator of Mission and Values, the third student in DePaul's history to hold this office. As senator, she created initiatives to promote the Vincentian mission and ensured that SGA decisions reinforced the mission and its values. In 2017-18, she will serve as vice president of the Student Government Association, alongside Michael Lynch as president.

Covarrubias has been continuously involved during her time at DePaul: as a freshman, she joined the Chi Omega sorority, serving as a sisterhood support team leader, and then she served as a recruitment counselor for the Panhellenic Council. She has also been a DePaul Telefund caller and works in the Career Center. She is a two-time Chicago Quarter Mentor for the first-year program Discover Chicago class "Justice in the City" and will work as a staff professional for the course "Women Leaders for Social Change" in the 2017-18 academic year.

She actively participates in community service work and joined the service immersion program trips to Mississippi and Kentucky. She helped lead a first-year trip to St. Louis, Missouri during winter break 2016. This past April, Covarrubias attended the Office of Mission and Values' Vincentian Heritage Tour to learn more about St. Vincent de Paul's life.

"It's easy to get caught up in the idea that Vincent is a saint. The real challenge is seeing him as a person who cared and who let that compassion drive him as a leader," she says.

All of Covarrubias' work to engage students and communicate DePaul's mission has provided direction for what she will do once she leaves DePaul: help businesses identify their core values and build effective teams based on their mission statements. At some point in the future, she would like to pursue a doctorate and conduct research on effective leadership in higher education and student affairs.

If you know of students interested in setting up a workshop to learn more about what it means to be a Vincentian leader, contact Covarrubias at gcovarr1@depaul.edu to set up a consultation.