• Student Application

    Catalyst trips use direct service to investigate questions of justice and community. Catalyst is designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn about social justice, reflect about our roles in the community, and contribute via service over spring break. The trips are open to all currently enrolled Hamline University students who are not on any form of probation. 

    Applications are now closed. Applications for spring of 2016 will be open in fall of 2015. 


    Each trip will have a group of 10-13 people. The group is lead by two student leaders and a staff resource person. The staff resource person will be present and available for safety concerns throughout the trip. Washington DC, New Orleans, and San Francisco will fly to their destinations, Chicago and Milwaukee will drive together in a van . Each day will consist of doing direct service within the community, followed by reflection. Many trips also speak with elected officials, community activists, and take part in cultural activities.

    Catalyst 2015 Sites

    Washington DC:

    Come for a life-changing experience in Washington, D.C. this spring break! We will engage with various organizations whose mission aids those experiencing homelessness while also investigating other intersecting topics such as mental health, racial disparities, income inequality and many more. Our goal for this trip is to step out of their comfort zones while engaging in reflective dialogue and enjoying their time in America’s capital. Through the National Coalition for the Homeless, we will participate in the 48 hour Homeless Challenge as well as serve with different organizations that work with various focuses within the homeless community.


    Join us in the Windy City as we work with immigrant and refugee populations. Through working with community partners, we will investigate how poverty, human trafficking, political unrest, and more affect these populations. This exciting trip will leave students prepared to come back and engage with Minnesota’s own immigrant and refugee populations in meaningful ways! This trip is NEW for 2015!

    New Orleans:

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to begin a project with strangers and leave with a sense of community? This trip to New Orleans will enable you to work with communities to do service projects; explore various religious groups in the area; and discuss issues of justice, hurricane relief, poverty, race, and much more! Throughout the trip we will grow spiritually by discovering the meaning of service and how it is defined in differing communities. All are welcome to apply.


    Join us on an urban gardening exploration! Learn about the food injustices in Milwaukee and the effect it has on poverty, communities of color, people living with illnesses, and society at large. Milwaukee is consistently ranked as one of the most racially segregated cities in the nation, what does food access have to do with this? Investigate more questions like these, meet other Hamline students passionate about service and social justice, and learn how to be the change you wish to see in the world!

    San Francisco:

    Make a difference on this trip focusing on issues facing the queer community (LGBTQIAP) in San Francisco. Students on this trip will learn about the history of the city and it's role in the gay rights movement. Students will also learn about gender empowerment and poverty as it is related to the queer community in San Francisco. Both LGBTQIAP identified folks and those striving to be allies are welcome to apply. Discover more about your own identities while making memories that will change your life!

    Student Fees

    We try to make the trip very affordable for students. Hamline contributes to the funding, we fundraise together, and there is a small student fee. The student fee for Catalyst trips to DC, New Orleans, and San Francisco is $300. The Chicago and Milwaukee trip costs $200. Student fees are due by February 2nd, 2015. This covers all transportation, all lodging, all meals except on the travel days(first and last days), and all educational experiences.


    If you are in need of a scholarship for part of your student fee please contact Margot Howard mhoward03@hamline.edu. A very limited amount of scholarships are available, please only inquire if you would otherwise not be able to attend the trip. We are not able to offer full scholarships*. Scholarship requests are due at the time of application.

    Trip Refunds

    Due to the high cost of arraigning each trip, if you cancel after Jan 1, you will be charged the cost of the plane ticket or student fee (whichever is higher). If you cancel before Jan. 1 you will not be responsible for any cost of the trip.

    Notes to Consider

    Catalyst Trips are designed to be high-impact experiences. Each day will be packed full with service and experiential learning. The trips may put people outside of their comfort zones to encourage learning and growth through new and unique experiences. Many trips will stay in hostels and use public transportation. All participants will be able to sleep in a private bed, but not a private room. Days may include up to five miles of walking. Some sites may do service that includes, but are not limited to heavy lifting, repetitive movement, standing for long periods of time, working directly with community members, working in messy or dirty situations, etc.. Each trip does different types of service and one should be ready to work on anything. Catalyst Programs will do it's best to accommodate students needs, but it may not always be possible. Please email mhoward03@hamline.edu with any accommodation request as soon as they are known.


    • Assist with fundraising efforts. 
    • Attend an orientation on February 2nd, 2015.
    • Participate in a local service project with their group before and after their trip.
    • Contribute to a group presentation about what they experienced on their trip.
    • Be available for all of spring break: March 28th-April 4th 2015.  


    • Who am I in the context of community?
    • How do I take personal and collective action for justice?
    • How does my privilege show up in different spaces/communities?
    • How do I challenge stereotypes and assumptions?
    • How can I open myself to urgent injustice and stay compassionate?
    • How are different social justice issues interrelated?