About the Program
Fairfield University’s Office of Campus Ministry strives to be a home for students of all faith traditions who are interested in exploring and enriching their spiritual lives. Rooted in the Catholic faith and steeped in the Ignatian tradition, Campus Ministry is committed to the development of the whole person and believes that a healthy spiritual life is an essential key element of the Fairfield University experience. The Service Immersion Program offers both domestic and international opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to explore what it means to live a faith that does justice and to deepen their relationships with God through:
"Amazing Breaks" Alternative Spring Break Experience
Students are exposed to different social, cultural, and economic situations in the United States while contributing to the community in which they work. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a transformative experience through encounters with the poor, cross-cultural communication, action, and reflection. Trips take place during spring break and in May after graduation. Open to all classes.
This year, students will travel to the following sites:
Domestic Immersion Experiences – March 10-17, 2018
WorkFest, Appalachia, Kentucky
The Christian Appalachian Project encompasses community, service and spirituality. Surrounded by the Appalachia Mountains, serve and learn about the injustices and realities of poverty. “It’s about realizing that the only person who will be changed is you. It is a luxury to be able to serve and to be in the position to give. For it is in giving that we receive.”
Aquinas Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aquinas Center seeks to build unity in diversity to support learning and inspire thoughtful action. Over 550 people use the center weekly for activities ranging from community organizing to sacramental preparation to leadership training to English classes. Leadership for parish and center programming is shared by different cultural communities including: Indonesian, Vietnamese, Latin American, African American, Filipino, and Anglo-Europeans. These all take place within the context of a community that is continually shaped by immigration and migration. Our Immersion Trip will focus on the immigrant population of Philadelphia as well as people experiencing homelessness in the city.
Via International, San Diego Border Immersion
This program will explore the impact of living only 15 miles from the U.S./Mexico Border and the challenges faced by families, local farmers, businesses, and the large Chicano community. Participate in community driven initiatives and live the realities by combating the stereotypes immigration has been given right here in one of the most important areas involving this issue. Meet the Amigos Car Club, a grassroots organization that has curbed gang-violence in urban areas, bring water to immigrants crossing the border with the founder of Border Angels, Enrique Morones and travel from Otay to the Pacific Ocean to join the border patrol on a tour between the fence and the wall, highlighting the extreme differences between life on two sides of a wall.
(Pictured: Student having fun with kids during her international trip to Jamaica)
The Office of Campus Ministry has had a long tradition of offering students the opportunity to spend time in other countries to learn about the realities, hopes, and struggles of those living in situations of economic, political, or social marginalization.
The goal of the International Service Immersion program is for student participants to deepen their relationships with God through:
Service Immersion trips typically occur during the semester breaks internationally in January and sometimes May, and domestically over spring break in March.
The application process for participants begins several months prior to each trip's departure date, and the commitment continues for several months after each trip's return. This allows for weekly meetings, retreats, fundraising events, speakers, and in-services - opportunities to make connections through local service work and many awareness-building events.
For more information, contact Campus Ministry at email@example.com x 3266
"We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted. Knowing that they hold future promise."
- Archbishop Oscar Romero, El Salvador
Winter Experiences - January 2018
Applications can be found here.
Quito, Ecuador – January 3-13, 2018
The Center for Working Families
While in-country, Fairfield students will partner with the Working Boy's Center, a family-centered total development program, geared towards providing education, vocational training and life-skills development for the working children of Quito and their families.
Founded in 1964 to address the educational needs of boys working on the streets shining shoes, the WBCs objective has been to eliminate poverty among working children and their families. To date, over 6,000 families or around 30,000 people have left poverty forever as a result of the Working Boys' Center program. In 2007, the Working Boys' Center commissioned an external study of the impact of operations on its beneficiaries. The results concluded that the WBC method has successfully inserted 75% of its graduates into society and the labor market, due to the integral education received at the WBC.
While partnering with the work and accompaniment of the WBC, program participants will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of programs and projects, including teaching with year-long volunteers, working in the center's workshop, dispensary, soup kitchen and surrounding mission stations, as well as working to build a house for a local family in a community-sponsored program called a "minga."
Learn more about the Center for Working Families: http://www.c4wf.org/.
Mustard Seed Communities - Dominican Republic
Cangrejo, Dominican Republic
In 2001 Mustard Seed Communities expanded to Dominican Republic to meet the needs of children with disabilities, many of whom had been abandoned. MSC acquired property in the small town of Cangrejo on the outskirts of Puerto Plata and constructed a home called Hogar Immanuel. Hogar Immanuel is presently home to 35 children and young adults. The residents of Hogar Immanuel are joyful and well loved by the staff who cares for them. The residents receive a number of services including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and special education. In 2007 Mustard Seed Communities Dominican Republic purchased an adjoining piece of property to expand the home to provide care to more children with disabilities who are living in unsafe environments.
Today, the fully developed property includes four cottages, a physiotherapy room, chapel and on-site mission volunteer housing. The expansion has doubled Mustard Seed’s capacity, enabling the organization to serve a greater population of the most vulnerable children in Dominican Republic. When it reaches full capacity, Hogar Immanuel will provide loving care for 48 children and young adults with disabilities.
Learn more about Mustard Seed Communities: https://www.mustardseed.com/our-work/dominican-republic.