Immersion Trip

It’s About More than Sheetrock

			IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN SHEETROCK Service involves solidarity—finding common cause with others, particularly with those in need. Solidarity involves long-term partnerships, community building, time, and trust. That’s why Wheeling Jesuit students continue to serve in New Orleans nine years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city. During winter break, fourteen students and two staff joined our friends at Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (yrno.com) hanging drywall in a rebuilt house in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood. But it’s about more than sheetrock: it’s about the relationships, the interactions with organizations and individuals that, in the words of Elizabeth Nawrocki, ’16, “showed hope for the area in the future.”

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Being Homeless in Washington DC

It has been said that the more you put into something, the more you get out.  This could not be more true of the Immersion to Washington DC, that included 48 hours being homeless on the streets of our nation's Capital.  Students are part of a 25+ year tradition of participants who have completed the challenge through the National Coalition for the Homeless. First Year Brad Kakos said it best, “We got the feeling of how it feels to beg someone for a handout or to get the stares from people who can't comprehend why you're there or what you're doing. There are a lot of misconceptions about the homeless and I feel fortunate to be able to learn and see better what they deal with. It was an eye-opening experience."  It’s about service, solidarity and awareness. Taylor Cameron ‘14 and six others learn about homelessness by living it for two days.

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Thanks For The Shoutout, Mr. President

WE DID IT AGAIN!  Wheeling Jesuit University has been admitted to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the second year in a row!  WJU has been recognized as one of the leading universities in promoting actions to solve community problems while involving students along the way.  The SSAC would like to congratulate WJU students, staff  and community partners who gave their time and effort in serving to make a difference in the Wheeling community and beyond. 	Furthermore, WJU students are committed in helping communities as close as Wheeling, WV and as far as Central America.  Seven students spent Spring Break on a service trip in El Salvador. Kara DeSantis, Senior, said "You grow as a person when you do service, and that's what college is about."

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Where Did Your Food Come From?

Ten WJU students  have chosen to spend their Spring Break participating in the Food Justice Immersion Trip. They enjoyed exploring backyard gardening, urban farming and industrial agriculture in the Ohio  Valley. These students experienced milking cows, building compost piles and planting seeds. They learned the importance of nutrient cycling by planting gardens in vacant lots in neighborhoods in Wheeling, WV. The Food Justice Immersion Trip has taught students about the problems and opportunities of our food system in the 21st century. Community gardening, food co-ops, faith-based food initiatives, regional food hubs are some healthy alternatives to supermarket food that cost a fortune. “This experience was not only fun but informative as well. I am glad that through this trip I have made an impact in the Wheeling community.” says Rachel Enders ‘16.

 

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Hola NOLA!

“New Orleans is called the ‘Big Easy’ but I found it the city of ‘Big Love’”<br />–Rebecca McDaniel (Right)<br />Along with Rebecca are fifteen others who visited<br />New Orleans, LA to participate in a number of service<br />activities such as reconstructing homes and organizing<br />a warehouse. A week spent in New Orleans has been an eye-opening experience, which helped students realize the challenges that people encounter in other parts of the country. Meeting New Orleans natives who have faced struggles in life has taught students that they can overcome any challenges with courage and love. While in New Orleans, the group also had the opportunity to check out Bourbon Street’s many historic buildings in the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in the city. We at the SSAC cannot wait to come back. See you next year New Orleans!

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Immersed in Central America

The Senior Arrupe Scholars pose during an excursion to Antigua, Guatemala We welcome back TWO immersion trips this  week that made the most of their winter break in service with others.  Right now we are proud to focus  on the Arrupe Scholars that returned from El Salvador after volunteering with Project FIAT.  While in Central America,  they performed service that ranged from visiting an orphanage to  building and laying the foundation for a school.  This was supplemented with experiences to learn about the nation’s history, economy and culture to give context to people they met there.  The group also studied the life and mission of Archbishop Oscar Romero as he worked passionately for  the poor of the country before his assassination in 1980.  Everyone  returned home safely with a better understanding of this beautiful  country and warm memories of the people that were so welcoming.

 

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Justice in Our Nation’s Capital

 

Want to meet some students ready to change the  world?  Well, look no further, for we present to you  the 2012 delegation from the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice.  This gathering in Washington D.C. is meant to educate  and unite the 1000+ attending students from Jesuit schools around  the country to work for social justice in their own communities.  It takes place on the anniversary of the 1989 assassination of 6 Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador after they refused to stop serving the nation’s poor.  The white crosses in the picture represent how they are not forgotten and their work continues through our efforts.  These WJU students return to campus ready to, as the founder of the Jesuits—St. Ignatius of Loyola—said, “set the world on fire.”

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Immersion Trip to Camden, NJ

 

We welcome back everyone from Fall Break, but especially the students that participated on recent immersion trips.  One group went to better understand urban poverty in Camden, NJ, where through the Romero Center, served with locals at a health fair for the underinsured as well as the wheelchair-bound residents of the Inglis House.  Reflections and learning activities also allowed students to step out of their comfort zones, especially during one day’s challenge to eat three meals with only $3.  The SSAC would also like to give a shout-out to the Appalachian Experience Club that spent their break chopping wood for the Sisters of Big Laurel Ecology Center in Mingo County, WV.  It is inspiring to see the great work done both in urban and rural places.

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Return of the Summer Immersion Trips

School’s out for summer!  We hope everyone is  enjoying their break as a chance to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with your home communities.  It certainly is quiet around the WJU campus.  We recently celebrated  the safe return of two immersion trips.  Our Sophomore Arrupe Service Scholars were in Mingo County, WV learning and serving in a beautiful region of rural Appalachia.  They performed farm chores with the Sisters at Big Laurel Ecology Center and helped at a kid’s camp.  The Junior Arrupe Scholars found themselves in the opposite environment of urban Camden, NJ where they volunteered through the Romero Center as well as simulated what it’s like to live as a working poor person in a major city.  We hope you enjoyed our postcard!

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Immersed in East Wheeling

The end of the semester means the beginning of immersion trips for the Arrupe Scholars.  Last week    the First Year students participated on a local “in”mersion to East Wheeling.  They learned about community, identity and growth by working with six great organizations, including Laughlin Memorial Chapel, The Catholic Neighborhood Center, Appalachian Outreach, King’s Daughters Child Care Center, The Mother Jones House and The East Wheeling Community Gardens.  Check out the trip pictures at facebook.com/SsacAtWju to see the work that got done and the people they met along the way.  We hope more students will take the opportunity to serve in and explore this great part of Wheeling!

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