Hamline News

April 11, 2014

Students Engage in Spring Break Service Trips

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For many students, spring break is a time to travel to tropical and sunny vacation spots and take a break from the pressures and expectations of being a college student. There are four groups of Hamline students, however, who took the time away from classes in order to improve communities and investigate questions of social justice.

The annual Catalyst spring break trips are offered through the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice and exemplify the center’s statement of purpose “to connect the pursuit of the common good with growth of the whole person, through compassionate action and courageous reflection.” This is one of many ways in which the center challenges students to learn more about their community and themselves.

“Catalyst trips use direct service to investigate questions of justice and community. They are designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn about social justice, reflect on their roles in the community, and contribute through service over spring break,” Coordinator of Social Justice Initiatives Margot Howard said. “Our goal is to help students learn more about their role in social justice issues. At the same time, they learn how to recognize others’ values, be flexible, work well in new situations, become more conscientious about diversity, develop citizenship skills, and make a difference in local, state, national, and global communities.”

Each trip is led by a student and supervised by a staff member. This year, Catalyst trips focused on a multitude of important issues, including: Poverty, homelessness, racial justice, food justice, youth, inclusive religious communities, hunger, women’s rights, and interfaith work. Students also blogged about their eye-opening and emotional experiences during the trip. You can read their blogs by clicking the links below.

WASHINGTON DC:
Lead Focus: Homelessness
Intersecting focuses may include: politics, hunger, racial justice, women’s rights, and more.

NEW ORLEANS:
Lead Focus: Hurricane relief
Intersecting focuses may include: poverty, homelessness, youth, interfaith work, racial justice, and more.

SAN FRANCISCO:
Lead Focus: Queer Communities
Intersecting focuses may include: poverty, homelessness, racial justice, food justice, youth, inclusive religious communities and more.

MILWAUKEE:
Lead Focus: The Good Food Revolution
Intersecting focuses may include: racial justice, poverty, the gardening movement, youth, and more.

Taking part in Catalyst Trips is available to all Hamline students, and students interested can send in an application in October for consideration online. Students who wish to take part can expect to find the answers to these questions on their trips:

Who am I in context of community?
How do I take personal/collective action for justice?
How do I challenge stereotypes and assumptions?
How do I enter into a community that is new to me and how do I participate?
How do I bring the justice work home?
How can I open myself to urgent injustice and stay compassionate?
How are justice issues interrelated?
What balance of service and learning works for me?
How do I accept or offer hospitality?
What am I giving?

To learn more about the program and how to get involved, check out the Wesley Center and Catalyst Trip pages on the Hamline Website.