Immersion Experiences

Whether you are called to serve in unfamiliar surroundings far from home, or you are drawn to explore the meaning of social justice just a few blocks from campus, SLU offers a range of immersive experiences to expand your understanding of stewardship and community.

2017-18 Program dates

9/7/17 5-7 p.m.:  Information session
10/1/17: Applications due at midnight
11/30/17  5-7 p.m.: Immersion Program Kickoff
1/22/2018 - 2/26/2018:  Six weeks of pre-trip meetings (days/times vary by trip)
3/8/18  6-7 p.m.: Sending Forth Liturgy
3/10/18 - 3/18/18: Immersion Trips
Week of 3/19/18: Post-trip small group meetings
4/7/18 - 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Post-trip Day of Reflection

For more information, contact Michelle Verner or Jen Petruso, Immersion Program Coordinators, at or 314-977-2425. 

Immersion Trip Application (Due October 1)

Trip Descriptions

St. Louis, MO - Urban Justice Issues

This is an opportunity to explore social justice issues close to home. We will examine some of the economic, racial, political and religious divisions in St. Louis and talk to groups who are trying to effect change. 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.’

Trip Cost: $150


Mobile, AL - Building Community with L’Arche

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.

Trip Cost: $300

The L'Arche Community

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 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.

Trip Cost: $300

PATCH Community and Children First

Kanawha-Charleston Health Department

Keeper of the Mountains Foundation 

Kermit, WV - Greeks Engaging in Appalachia

This is an opportunity for members of SLU’s diverse fraternity and sorority chapters to come together for others. It is also an invitation for you to experience service as more than swinging a hammer or digging a trench and enter into solidarity with people marginalized by society’s social structures. Participants will travel to the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia to engage in direct service and learn from people who are working to address rural poverty.

Trip Cost: $300

Able Families

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.

Trip Cost: $300

Learn About St. Anne's Mission

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 to help bring the tools of Ignatian spirituality to young men in prison. 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.

Trip Cost: $600

Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative

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.

Trip Cost: $600

Cristo Rey Border Immersion Program 

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.

Trip Cost: $600

Kino Border Initiative


Student Leadership Opportunities 

Serving as a student leader on an immersion experience allows you to be a role model and a guide to your fellow participants. You will help your peers enter more fully into the host community and be open to the challenges posed by seeing the world from a new perspective. You’ll assist others in understanding the program pillars of community, spirituality, solidarity and social justice and how those concepts can be integrated into their lives after they return to SLU.


Prior to the immersion experience, you will build community with fellow student leaders, attend the Ignatian Companion Workshop, engage in six weeks of intentional leader formation based on the pillars of the program (community, spirituality, solidarity and social justice), work with staff facilitators to plan and lead six preparation meetings with student participants. Student leaders will also lead publicity and recruiting efforts for the trips.


While participating in your immersion, you will demonstrate the values of the program through your behavior, as well as help the facilitators assess the needs and concerns of other students and help facilitate reflection during the course of the trip.


Following your return to campus, student leaders are key to helping the group process and integrate the experience into their lives at SLU. Each group will meet at least once following their trip to explore what solidarity looks like here on campus through completing a solidarity project  and participating in a post-trip day of reflection.

Student leadership positions are serious, year-long commitments requiring three to five hours a week, and more in the weeks leading up to big events.

2017-18 Program dates

Sept. 7, 2017 5 - 7 p.m.:  Information session
Sept. 14, 2017 5:30 - 7 p.m.:  Student leader formation
Sept. 17, 2017  approx. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.:  Ignatian Companion Workshop
Sept. 28, 2017  5:30 - 7 p.m.:  Student leader formation
Oct. 12, 2017 5:30 - 7 p.m.:  Student leader formation
Oct. 26, 2017  5:30-7pm:  Student leader formation
Nov. 9, 2017 5:30 - 7pm:  Student leader formation
Nov. 30, 2017  5 - 7 p.m.:  Immersion Program Kickoff
Jan. 18, 2018 5:30 - 7 p.m.:  Student leader formation
Jan. 22, 2018 - Feb. 26, 2018: Six weeks of preparation meetings with trip participants
March 8, 2018 6 - 7 p.m.:  Sending Forth Liturgy

Apply to be an Immersion Trip Student Leader