Story by Valentina Garcia
Photo Courtesy of aquinas.edu
Faith, learning, service, and community are the four charisms of Aquinas College. New students quickly come to see the importance of these four things; the charisms appear everywhere. Service learning trips are one of the ways they are embodied.
Service Learning Trips are a central part of the Aquinas College experience. There are trips offered during all school breaks: fall, spring, and summer. In September, there is even a weekend trip offered in which students participate in a Habitat for Humanity project.
There are five service trips offered during spring break. National trips include service in Minnesota, Kentucky and Louisiana. The focus of each trip is different. Students in Minnesota will be working with urban poverty and sustainability. In Kentucky, the focus is appalachian rural poverty, and in New Orleans students work with education and urban poverty. International trips head out to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, with medical and education purposes, respectfully.
Service trips are an opportunity to experience all four charisms together, and students always enjoy them.
“It was such an amazing trip. I got a lot more out of it than I ever thought I would,” Victoria Bernhardt, second-year student and Student Ambassador, said.
Bernhardt participated in the Minnesota Jerusalem Farm trip during spring of her freshman year. She loved the experience.
“I made some great friends and learned life lessons that I will remember forever. I can’t wait to go back.”
Jerusalem Farm is based on community, simplicity, prayer, and service. This is shown through what stood out to Bernhardt about her service the most.
“Talking to the community members, they had a completely different outlook on life. It really taught me a lot and I don’t think I would have ever imagined what they were there to teach me,” Bernhardt said.
Service trips are perfect opportunities for personal growth. They are a clear example of giving and receiving. So much can be learned in one week, which is the length of the trips. The time is given is short, but the experience has proven to last a lifetime.
The service learning trip application can be found online at aquinas.edu under the service learning page. Applications should be filled out by Jan. 27.