Service trips prove tough but rewarding

By Missy Katner

Lumen Assistant Editor

The three groups of students who embarked on the spring break trips were hundreds of miles apart, but they all had a common goal: to serve. Here are some details about each trip.


Fourteen students and chaperones spent March 4 to March 10 in Pittsburgh. They worked on two houses, installing drywall and shingling roofs among other repairs.

Derek Freese, a senior from St. Cloud, Minn. with a B.F.A. in sculpture, described the experience: “It’s tough and rough. It’s repetitive and exhausting […] but that is what it means to serve. To serve is the work of saints. Doing the dirty, painstaking duties that no one necessarily wants to do, but need to be done in order to affect change.”

At night, the students stayed in housing provided by the Pittsburgh Project and participated in team building activities such as games and a midnight bacon party.

They did some sight-seeing around Pittsburgh and explored the hills around the city.

“It’s not a super big city. It’s a nice in between,” said Janelle Matthews, an English major from Boscobel, Wis. “There is a lot to do. It’s really beautiful with all the hills. And the people were really grateful [for our service].”


After a 20-hour bus ride, the 30 students and chaperones arrived in the city of Chauvin. There they learned about restoration of Louisiana’s coastal region at the Bayou Grace research center.

They also volunteered with the National Estuary Program and planted 400 trees to help anchor the land and reduce the amount of inland flooding.

The students spent one day touring New Orleans and experienced the unique food, people, and culture of the city.

“I loved being able to connect with nature in that part of the region and knowing I was contributing to improve the life of the people living there,” said Juliana Munoz, a senior business major from Bogota, Columbia.

South Dakota

Previously organized by Campus Ministry, the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) trip is now part of a mission seminar class called Serving the Common Good.

Twelve students and chaperones attended the trip and spent

Students volunteered with the National Estuary Program in Louisiana over spring break.

Photo by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. the week on a Lakota Reservation in Eagle Butte, S.D. CRYP is a safe and educational center for children in the community.

The volunteers spent most of the week cleaning the center, interacting with the children and teenagers on the reservation, and organizing the “Passion for Fashion” event. It is an annual mock fashion show at which children can model donated prom dresses and clothes.

“The best part for me was working with the kids,” Jenna Hess, a psychology major from Coon Valley, Wis., said about her third visit to the Lakota reservation. “In their culture, they don’t like to reveal too much and it’s fun to see them open up. A lot of them come from really bad home environments, so it’s great knowing that you put smiles on their faces.”

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