Over the 2018 spring break several Saint Xavier University (SXU) students took part in service trips. These trips took them to new places in order to engage in team building activities that fueled their acts of service and desires to give back to the community.
One group of students attended Jerusalem Farm in Kansas City, Mo. Accompanied by a graduate assistant and hall minister, students were placed in communal living environments that sparked important conversations about social justice and changes that need to be made within society.
“Facing social issues head on is neither easy nor pretty, but it is necessary,” said senior Michael Sennett. “Those kinds of experiences enlighten us to the truth of the world we live in. I have to use the fire I have burning inside me to demand change,” Sennett said.
In addition to these discussions, students took part in making repairs to homes in the community. They were able to learn new skills and meet with community members who were impacted by social injustices.
“Whether it’s installing fiberglass insulation for the first time, connecting with a person who was being unjustly evicted, or leaning how to work a moody nail dispenser, deep, unique bonds can be grown as long as there’s a bit of love and an open heart,” said attendee James Cantu.
Students also participated in sustainability training that taught them to take a look at their own habits and reevaluate how environmentally-friendly they are being on a day-to-day basis.
“Throughout the week, I learned not only how much I waste, but how much of what I waste can be easily saved or converted into something useful,” said Cantu.
Although they left with a plethora of skills and insight into conservation, students were also able to make some new friends along the way. The connections made with others who attended Jerusalem Farm were invaluable and something SXU attendees will never forget.
“Spending most of your day with your work group transforms them all into something more than just random people from around the country stuck together for a week,” Cantu said. “It turns them into people you feel like you’ve known for most of your life.”
While these service trips only come around a few times a year, there are always other ways for students, faculty and staff to get involved and serve the greater community. Campus Ministry is a wonderful resource for upcoming projects and news on service.
“Campus Ministry has many opportunities for service, such as the Bread Truck, as well as programs and events put on by Peer Ministers,” reminds Sennett. “Service Club and Mercy Students for Peace and Justice often endorse service oriented events.”
SXU is proud to have so many students dedicated to serving others. Whether you choose to give back by attending a week-long service trip or an hour-long shift at the Bread Truck, there are always ways to continue living mercy on campus.
For more ways to get involved in Campus Ministry service projects, email email@example.com.