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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Christmas Cheer and Canned Peas

Christmas is fast approaching and WJU students are celebrating the season by giving their time in service to others. The HESS mentoring program concluded the semester with a holiday party featuring games, food, gifts, crafts and may have ended with some mentees being literally covered in wrapping paper. Similar good cheer was shared at the Catholic Neighborhood Center where the History Club, Computer Club and other WJU students took part in an event to sort 19,000 food donations to be distributed to 300 local families. One volunteer, Amy, described it as “seriously the best exam de-stressor ever.” We wish the best of luck to those taking finals this week and hope everyone enjoys the soon-to-come break!

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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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“We sleep out so kids don’t have to!”

 

	If you walked past the Wheeling Jesuit  University’s soccer field last Friday, you probably noticed it was filled with teams of people sleeping in boxes. The event was held during Hunger and Homeless week and what you witnessed was the second annual Wheeling SleepOut. The  teams had the option to participate in the ‘Box Contest’ for the most creative box design, or they could make a donation and participate in the festivities. Many of the teams even stayed outside all night to get a brief, one-night snapshot of what it would be like to be homeless. Members of the community and students alike participated and volunteered in the event with the goal to raise awareness to the homeless people of the Ohio Valley area and across the whole US.  Kudos to Youth Services System for planning such a great event and raising over $32,000 for a great cause!

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Halloween Fun with Service

Who says you can't have fun while serving?  Last week students and guests with special needs showed off their moves at the annual Disc Dance. The Auxiliary Gym was transformed into a Halloween-themed party with music, coloring and snacks.  The mentees of the HESS program also celebrated the season with Trick-Or-Treating in a residence hall and candy-filled games.  If that’s not enough, just yesterday WJU students visited the local Juvenile Detention Center for a holiday party with incarcerated youth. They played a series of races, including moving a cookie from your forehead to your mouth without hands, wrapping up a partner like a mummy with toilet paper and finally, eating a dangling doughnut on a string. These good times came from dedicated, fun-loving students looking to make a difference. Are you one of them?

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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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New Lundy Lounge Dedicated by Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J.

Welcome to the NEW Lundy Lounge on the first floor of Acker Science Center! This new space has a causal coffee shop style about it and hosts the SSAC and Appalachian Institute directors, Adrienne Tharp and Beth Collins. Named after former president Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J., it honors his commitment to service and social justice. A close friend of his and anti-death penalty advocate, Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., came for the dedication. She ate lunch with students that study, serve with or advocate for those incarcerated in this country. Sister Helen then gave a public lecture to a crowd of around 570 people on her experiences ministering to those on death row, a story which was adapted into the 1995 Academy Award winning film, Dead Man Walking. Come check out the new lounge and stay a while!

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New Student Group Makes the Local Paper

	Service is in full swing on and off the campus of Wheeling Jesuit.  The new students learned more about how volunteering can improve their college experience at the Involvement Fair.  Many also showed up at the Red Cross Blood  Drive where 51 units of blood were donated.  Also impressive were the 25 faculty, staff and administrators at WJU that participated in a service project through the United Way’s annual Day of Caring.   	We are also proud of the many students that made the most of their past Saturday morning to paint and clean-up Wilson Park.  This was the first project of Youth Rebuilding the Ohio Valley, a new group of students committed to making a difference in the region.      				Way to get in the paper too!

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Make a Difference Day Kicks Off the New School Year

Welcome to the new school year!  It is incredibly  exciting to see classes starting up and people back on campus.  Things really kicked off with Make a Difference Day this past Saturday where over 250 First Year students volunteered in the Wheeling area at organizations like  Appalachian Outreach, Catholic Neighborhood Center, Children’s Museum, Free Wheelchair Mission, Holy Family, House of the Carpenter, Juvenile Detention Center, King’s Daughters, Marshall Co. Animal Shelter, Rails to Trails, Sandscrest Boy Scout Camp, Welty Home, Youth Services System, and the YWCA.  We think these kinds of projects give new students a chance to improve the city, connect to a new environment, and allow individual learning and growth.  We hope the friendships started and service begun will continue throughout the year!

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Summer Progress

	Summer may be a time of rest and relaxation for some, but the Service for Social Action Center has been busy getting ready for a new school year and new developments that come with it.  Those on campus know that there is construction going on in the old kiosk, but they may not know the SSAC is behind it.  We’ll just say that the final product is going to be a combo of service, studying space and some really nice couches.  There is also a new leadership program being built that will graduate its first cohort by the end of the year.  The unveiling will take place shortly for some of our student leaders arriving early.  And did we mention that there will be some new faces 					around the office?  Stay tuned!

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