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Immersion Experiences

Are you interested in getting out of the “SLU bubble” to learn more about the injustices present in this country? Do you want to build community with fellow students through engaging in meaningful conversations about faith and justice? Are you ready to discover how you are being called to work toward a more just world?

Through engaging in the pillars of Community, Spirituality, Justice, and Solidarity, the Campus Ministry Spring Break Immersion Program will challenge you to step out of your comfort zone in order to accompany people on the margins and to critically engage with the social injustices facing those people— and to allow yourself to be radically transformed in the process. While your actual immersion trip may last only a week, the knowledge you gain and the growth you experience will last long after that, and our program will continue to support and engage you in your ongoing efforts to work for justice in your communities and to stand in solidarity through practices of accompaniment and advocacy.

See below for more details, trip descriptions, and the program calendar. Contact Michelle Verner, Immersion Program Coordinator, at michelle.verner@slu.edu or 314-977-1532 with any questions.

Program Requirements and Details

Before

  • Attend Program Kickoff Event on November 29th
  • Complete any pre-trip readings/videos over winter break
  • Attend six weekly pre-trip meetings with your fellow trip participants beginning the week of January 21st (NOTE: These days/times are already set for each trip and will not be changed. You MUST be able to commit to the day/time of the pre-/post-trip meetings of the trips that you select as your preference on your application)
  • Participate in the ecumenical Sending Forth Prayer Service on March 7th

During

  • Full participation/presence on the entire trip
  • Adherence to trip policies and “covenant”
  • Willingness to disconnect from social media, schoolwork, etc. in order to be fully engaged and present to the experiences
  • Willingness to live simply and in community

After

  • Attend two post-trip meetings with trip group
  • Attend Post-trip Day of Reflection on March 30th
  • Complete Solidarity Project with trip group

Program Calendar

DATE/TIME  EVENT 
 Sep. 20, 2018, 6-7 p.m.  Information Session (Wuller Hall)
 Sep. 26, 2018, 6-7 p.m.  Information Session (Wuller Hall)
 Oct. 7, 2018, Midnight  Application Closes
 Oct. 25 , 2018  Acceptance emails sent out
 Oct. 31, 2018, 5 p.m.  Deadline to accept spot on immersion & turn in forms
 Nov. 29, 2018, 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Program Kick Off Event (CGC)
 Week of Jan. 21, 2019—Week of Feb. 25, 2019  Weekly Pre-Trip Meetings (6 total)
 Mar. 7, 2019, 6- 7 p.m.  Sending Forth Prayer Service (College Church Ballroom)
 Mar. 9 - 16, 2019  Spring Break Trips!
Week of Mar. 18, 2019—Week of Mar. 25, 2019 Weekly Post-Trip Meetings (2 total)
Mar. 30, 2019, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Post-trip Day of Reflection
After trips (varies) Solidarity Projects

 

Trip Descriptions

St. Louis, MO - Urban Justice Issues

This is an opportunity to explore social justice issues close to campus and to get to know your St. Louis home on a deeper level outside of the “SLU bubble.” We will examine some of the economic, racial, political and educational divisions in St. Louis and get to know our neighbors in the city through meeting with local nonprofits, serving alongside others at Kingdom House, and learning about root causes of these justice issues. During the immersion, we will use social analysis and open, faith-based reflections to discern how SLU, and each of us, can be a better neighbor in the community and be more and more ‘with and for others.’

Who we work with: Kingdom House, East Side Heart & Home Family Center

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Mondays from 6-7:30pm (beginning January 28th)

Trip cost: $150

Mobile, AL - Building Community with L’Arche

This immersion is designed to help you see the world through the experiences, unique challenges and joys of someone with an intellectual and or physical disability. You will spend a week with the L'Arche Community, an organization that provides homes and workplaces where people with and without disabilities share life together as peers. You will serve with the community as a companion and helper, sharing meals, having conversations and accompanying members, as well as performing basic maintenance such as painting and cleaning in the houses themselves or at partner agencies.  There is also a day trip to understand the realities of New Orleans, LA.

Who we work with: L’Arche of Mobile, Hope House

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm (beginning January 23rd)

Trip cost: $300

Wheeling, WV - Public Health in Appalachia

Through this trip you will examine the unique public health challenges created by rural poverty in Appalachia, as well as the ways local communities are and are not addressing them. You will spend time in both Wheeling (a bigger city) and Kermit (a rural community), where you will attend presentations about alcohol and drug abuse, access to nutritious food, and the effects of environmental degradation due to industrial activities in the region. You will also work with the local agencies below  to gain a more nuanced understanding of these issues through personal connection with patients in public health clinics and children in after-school programs.

Who we work with: Appalachian Institute of Wheeling Jesuit University, ABLE Families

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Thursdays from 5-6:30pm (beginning January 24th)

Trip cost: $300

Milwaukee, WI - Urban Plunge Experience

On this trip through the Casa Romero Renewal Center (a bilingual urban retreat center which seeks to continue and extend the ideas of social justice, community outreach, environmental health, diversity and spiritual awareness to the Milwaukee community and beyond), you will immerse yourself in the urban context of Milwaukee, a Midwestern city with many similarities to St. Louis. The themes covered in this trip will be “Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers” (focused on the issues of homelessness and hunger) and “Racism in the U.S., Milwaukee, and in Our Hearts” (exploring the multiple levels of racism, unpacking power and privilege, and gaining tools for action).

Who we work with: Casa Romero Renewal Center

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Thursdays from 7-8:30pm (beginning January 24th)

Trip cost: $300

Navajo Nation, AZ - Spirituality, Culture, and Justice

At St. Anne’s Mission located on the Navajo Nation, we will immerse in service and education, helping with some manual work and visiting with students at a local Catholic school. You will learn from some Navajos about life on a reservation today. There will be a focus on public health-related issues including substance abuse, diabetes and access to healthy food. You will also experience the distinctive cultural richness of the Navajo people, including their history, landscape, mythology and rituals, learning opportunities for solidarity and accompaniment.

Who we work with: Saint Anne’s Mission

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Mondays from 5-6:30pm (beginning January 28th)

Trip cost: $300

Los Angeles, CA - Restorative Justice and the Criminal Justice System  

This immersion explores how crime impacts communities, what measures and policies can help them heal, and what our responsibilities are to those who have hurt us. You will work with the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative in the prisons and jails around Los Angeles County. The group will also meet with organizations working to reform the criminal justice system in California. You must be 21 years of age to participate.

Who we work with: Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, Anti Recidivism Coalition, Homeboy Industries, Inside Out Writers

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Wednesdays from 5-6:30pm (beginning January 23rd)

Trip cost: $600

 

El Paso, TX/Juarez, MX - Immigration and Border Issues

Step out of your everyday life -- out of your comfort zone -- and into in-depth, experiential learning and cultural immersion.  The Border Immersion Experience is an opportunity to learn about the issues that affect lives of people living on the border. The program includes: fellowship at El Paso-Ciudad Juárez fence, presentations at various social justice ministries, assisting with after school program, personal accounts of border life exposure to Mexican & Mexican-American culture, tours of colonias (rural settlements) in El Paso, daily reflections, visit to ministries in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and bilingual worship at Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey.

Who we work with: Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm (beginning January 22nd)

Trip cost: $600

Nogales, AZ/Nogales, MX - Kino Border Initiative

This immersion, in collaboration with the Center for Service and Community Engagement, explores immigration issues through the outreach and advocacy efforts of the Kino Border Initiative, a bi-national human rights agency located literally just a few steps from the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.  Participants on this trip will experience the many perspectives and stories of border life, from migrant people, and those who serve them, to Border Patrol and border communities, who often struggle to balance security concerns with principles of human dignity. The experience of constant movement and migration is integrated into this trip through the lengthy drive from St. Louis to several border cities and by camping in the desert.

Who we work with: Kino Border Initiative

Pre-/Post-trip meeting times: Tuesdays from 5:30-7pm (beginning January 22nd)

Trip cost: $600

 

Apply here for the 2019 Spring Break Immersion Program