Campus Ministry runs successful trips

Kate Carrubba

Over fall break, many Villanova students chose to participate in service break experiences. Students traveled on 17 different service break experiences to a variety of states and countries. Students working with Habitat for Humanity went to sites in seven different states – Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas – and built houses for people in need. Students performed duties such as siding, roofing, painting and landscaping many homes. “Volunteers constructed homes with community members, immersed themselves in another culture and developed relationships with many around the world,” said Nancy Lee, service break experience coordinator.Each day on the job was a busy one for the students. Depending on the type of service being performed, students awoke early in the morning, completed a full day of work until the late afternoon and returned to their accommodations for dinner and group reflection to end the day.Students raved about their experiences. Many students met with their groups this week for reunionsSophomore Christy Rosati participated in her first service trip to El Paso, Texas, after hearing about other people’s experiences. “The trip was a learning experience that I will have for the rest of my life,” she said. “I feel like most of the time I’m only concerned about myself, and the trip motto of ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’ really attracted me.” Rosati said she welcomed the chance to participate in service without having to worry about missing classes or falling behind with her schoolwork.Sophomore Beth Kiley worked with Habitat for Humanity in Sea Island, S.C., in the spring and described it as “an experience which words cannot express. It was a unique and awesome time. My perspective on the fortunes in my own life, and the lack of fortunes in others, was greatly impacted.” Students also participated in mission service experiences. Mission groups traveled to New Mexico and Pennsylvania, as well as Belize, Ecuador, Honduras and Mexico. Volunteers undertook such tasks as serving in soup kitchens, afterschool programs and health clinics. Other duties included visiting the elderly, teaching English, working at AIDS hospices, repairing homes and interacting with the community they visited. In the past, mission service experiences have served in various sites in North, Central and South America and occasionally in Africa and Asia.The service program at Villanova has been in existence since 1976, when 40 students volunteered for the Christian Appalachian Project in Vance Burg, Ky. The service break experiences are an implementation of Catholic social teaching at Villanova. Lee describes the program as an application of the teachings of St. Thomas of Villanova and St. Augustine, who both dedicated their lives to the service of other. “We are called and expected to fight against the injustices that our brothers and sisters around the world encounter and live with each day,” Lee said.