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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Service trips extend beyond campus

By Leslie Weis

Contributing Writer

Project Mexico, a community service immersion program established in 1987, provides the opportunity for undergraduate students to take part in an intensive, 10-day service and educational exchange program during winter break with the people and communities of Mexicali, Mexico and San Diego, California. Similarly, Encounter El Salvador is a 10-day international immersion experience taking place in late May. Encounter El Salvador is organized in partnership between Loyola’s Center for Community Service and Justice (CCSJ) and Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ).

Each year, Loyola selects a team of 20 students, comprised of sophomores, juniors and seniors, along with three faculty and staff members to participate in this incredible service opportunity. Once selected for the team, one commits to a full year of activities in the program. During the fall semester, team members meet weekly to participate in team building exercises, as well as preparation and education for the upcoming trip. The Encounter El Salvador group is comprised of nine undergraduate students, four graduate students, faculty members and two co-coordinators.

Fundraising is a vital part in keeping this program afloat, along with each participant’s individual fundraising among family and friends. Annually held in November, the Project Mexico Auction has become a Loyola tradition and is the primary way of fundraising for both trips. This year, the Project Mexico Auction will be held on Friday, Nov. 15 from 5-8 p.m. in McGuire Hall.

While staying in Mexico in early January, Loyola’s team of students participate in a variety of community-related projects, as well as engage in cultural and social activities and educational programs. These programs address topics such as immigration, the environment, human rights and political and economic issues. In May, the Encounter El Salvador group spends the majority of its time in San Salvador learning about the many issues facing the Salvadoran people as well as the work that is being done by social service agencies, NGOs, religious and educational institutions and the government.

To learn more about how you can become a part of this service opportunity, contact Andrea Goicochea, the program coordinator, at [email protected] or one of the program moderators, Wendy Smith at [email protected] or Emilie Linsenmeyer at [email protected]. Applications are due in CCSJ by 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13.

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Service trips extend beyond campus