Campus Ministry offers new service projects


Service Break Experiences (SBEs) consist of two different types of programs: Alternative Spring Break and International Immersions.

For many St. Edward’s University students, school breaks consist of lazy days by the pool, family vacations and catching up on sleep. But for a select few, time off from academics means time to give back, and many choose to do this through Campus Ministry’s Service Break Experiences program.

Service Break Experiences (SBEs) consist of two different types of programs: Alternative Spring Break and International Immersions.

Alternative Spring Break offers 10 different locations across the United States where students have the opportunity to serve in a variety of ways, whether it be by working with migrant youth, building houses for people who still suffer from the damage of Hurricane Katrina or working with at-risk LGBT youth.

International Immersions, however, takes service a step further by giving students a rare opportunity to serve abroad. While most of the five international programs take place during the summer break, One Love, One Heart is being offered in December. The program serves children in Jamaica, is being offered during the winter to accommodate Hilltoppers that may be studying abroad or graduating in the spring semester.

“Every year, we evaluate the current programs, what’s happening in the world and where we are as a community, and think about how we can respond in service to others,” Liza Manjarrez, assistant director of Campus Ministry said. “Si Se Puede was brought to us by an alum of the SBE program, Andres Madrid, who now works with a foundation to provide educational access to all, especially migrant ‘out of school’ youth.”

Campus Ministry this year are focusing on justice education on the issues surrounding migration in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s Interfaith Service Challenge.

In regards to the variety of programs offered, Manjarrez added that a program like Building Bridges has been on her mind for years and it felt right to pursue a trip focused around the needs of the LGBT community.

“People don’t always equate the Church with this work, but that’s far from the truth. Catholic Social Teaching asks us to recognize the life and dignity of every human person. In my years at St. Edward’s, I have met students who have struggled due to lack of acceptance. The ability to use an SBE to teach people to build bridges of understanding and love is absolutely in line with our mission,” she said.

Although the application deadline for this year’s programs has passed, students can find out how else the can get involved for next year by contacting Manjarrez or by visiting Campus Ministry on the third floor of Doyle Hall.

Sophomore social work major, Lorena Sierra, did just that.

“SBE was an amazing experience that allowed me to grow as a person and view life in a different perspective. I learned so much about myself and how to empathize with others,” she said.

Follow Grace on Twitter for more!