Saint Louis University

College students have a reputation of using their spring break to relax and party. At Saint Louis University, however, for a devoted number of students, spring break means traveling around the world to further the University's mission to "extend compassionate care to the ill and needy; and maintain and improve the quality of life for all persons."

More than a 100 members of the SLU community participated in the annual spring break mission trips sponsored by Campus Ministry, in collaboration with the Center for Service and Community Engagement.

Students, faculty, and staff formed a variety of groups that included volunteer, service-learning and immersion experiences. The mission trips ventured out to four domestic locations and two international sites, with each trip bearing a different theme and focus. Learn more about the this year's mission trips and view the slideshow to see photos from select trips.

Greek Life Mission Trip
With more than 30 participants from eight different chapters, the Greek Life Mission Trip was a great opportunity for Greek students to come together for a common purpose through service. This all-Greek trip traveled to Jonesville, Virginia, to volunteer with the Appalachian Service Project. Students worked in rural Appalachia doing construction and home repairs.

'The Public Good and Human Development'
"The Public Good and Human Development" (PSY 293-01), offered during the spring 2013 semester, is a service-learning course, integrated with service activities and participation in a spring break mission Trip. As a part of this course, Bryan Sokol, Ph.D., led a small contingent of students to Philadelphia in collaboration with the Aquinas Center, where students learned about various urban projects, including a unique graffiti clean-up project, and broke down an array of urban issues that challenged students to think about the relevance of civic involvement, service, and their own moral development.

Cook School of Business Service Leadership Trip
The Cook School of Business Service Leadership Certificate Program traveled to Hope House in New Orleans. Hope House was founded in 1969 by a group of Catholic sisters and is a community and outreach center in the St. Thomas Housing Development. The New Orleans trip to Hope House offered students an intense, five-day workshop/retreat on the systemic problems of poverty: in welfare, education, the criminal justice system, health care, housing and homelessness.

Klagetoh, Ariz., Navajo Nation
Students spent their spring break at St. Anne's Catholic Mission in Klagetoh, Ariz., in the heart of the Navajo Nation. They spent time meeting with local people, learning about the history of the Navajo people and discussing current issues facing the people and government of Navajo Nation. They also visited a number of culturally and historically significant places a part of the life of the Navajo people.

Service trip in El Salvador
Participants in the El Salvador mission trip pose in front of a mural in Perquin, El Salvador. Submitted photo

Along with these domestic trip sites, SLU also sent a large contingent to Jamaica and El Salvador:

El Salvador
More of an immersion experience than service, this trip provided students with an opportunity to experience El Salvador through the work of an organization called Cebes-Fundahmer. Cebes-Fundahmer partners with communities in El Salvador to work on projects in the areas of education, human development, solidarity and sustainability. Participants visited an array of sites.

Of the student's many service and immersion experiences, they were moved by the people and service they experienced at their main service site, the local Alpha Boys School. Jamaica, the largest English-speaking Caribbean country, is the fertile ground for numerous social volunteer activities with the poor. The Jesuits on the island have built extensively; schools, churches, and have worked with the government on numerous projects such as education, housing, politics, agriculture, and relief for the poor.

For more information about trips, trip ideas or how to submit service trip proposals, contact James Hillis at the Social Justice and Service Coordinator, at or 314-977-1532.