• Catalyst Trip

    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 currently open for the 2020 Spring Break Catalyst trips. Applications are due November 2nd. Apply here.

    2020 Topics and Trip Descriptions

    Breaking Down Stigma Surrounding Hunger and Homelessness (Washington D.C):
    This trip will explore different aspects of hunger and homelessness while investigating intersecting topics such as mental health, racial disparities, domestic violence, and more. The goal for the trip to Washington D.C. is to step out of comfort zones while engaging in reflective dialogue. The group will serve with organizations that work on focuses within the homeless community. Through the National Coalition for the Homeless, the group will participate in the 48 Hour Homeless Challenge, during which we will spend our time outside in D.C.

    The American Dream: Is it possible? Immigrant and Refugee Populations (Phoenix, AZ):
    Join this group as they learn about how immigrants and refugees in the United States experience “The American Dream.” Does it really exist? By partnering with community organizations in Phoenix, we'll investigate how poverty, race, domestic violence, and more affect these populations. This experience will leave students prepared to come back and engage with Minnesota’s own immigrant and refugee populations in meaningful ways and have a deeper understanding of themselves within society.

    Environmental Justice: Working Towards a Sustainable Future (Houston, TX):
    Travel with other environmentally-minded Hamline students to Houston, one of the “pollution capitals of America." Partake in service learning at local organizations that will help deepen understanding of today’s environmental issues, such as: climate change, disaster relief, and sustainable living. This group will also explore how these issues affect local minority groups and how to pursue environmental justice in Houston, as well as back home in Minnesota. 

    Ghost Ranch: Interfaith Spirituality and Service (Ghost Ranch, NM):
    Ghost Ranch is a national education and retreat center owned by the Presbyterian Church. From the beginning, Ghost Ranch has been deeply involved in supporting surrounding communities and  to the preservation and protection of the environment. Students will work on project on the Ranch for two days, as well as organizations in surrounding communities. This trip will provide the opportunity for students to explore and deepen their own spiritualities and religious identities through respectful and meaningful connections within the group, but also with diverse communities of people engaged through service.


    Each trip will have a group of 10-13 people. The group is lead by two student site leaders and a staff resource person. The staff resource person will be present and available for safety concerns throughout the trip. All trips for 2020 Catalyst will travel by plane. Each day during the trips 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.

    Student Fees

    To make this experience happen, Catalyst receives funding from Hamline, student fundraising efforts, and a small student fee. The student fee for flying trips is $400. Student fees are due by January 27th, 2020. This covers all transportation, all lodging, all meals except on the travel days (first and last days), and all educational experiences.


    Catalyst is committed to making this an accessible experience for anyone involved. If you are in need of a scholarship and/or payment plan, please contact catalystfundraising@hamline.edu for more information. Please note that we are not able to offer full scholarships at this time. Inquiries about scholarships are due at the time of applications.

    Trip Refunds

    Due to the high cost of arraigning each trip (up to $1300), if you cancel after January 1st, you will be charged the cost of the plane ticket or student fee, whichever is higher. If you cancel before January 1st, you will not be responsible for any cost of the trip. If any participant would like a trip refund, please contact catalystfundraising@hamline.edu

    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 catalyst@hamline.edu with any accommodation request as soon as they are known.


    • Assist with fundraising efforts at the Support a Breaker event.

    • Attend an orientation 

    • 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


    • 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?