AMY STEL | FEATURES EDITOR
Every student looks forward to long weekend, winter vacation and spring break so they can have a break from their studies, but what about taking an alternative break?
St. Norbert College has a program called TRIPS that offers students the option to engage in a service-based alternative break. TRIPS stands for Turning Responsibility Into Powerful Service and is a great way for students to get involved and turn their values into service and understanding. The TRIPS program has 16 different trips that take place during long weekend, J-term and spring break.
Each trip is catered to one social justice issue. There are trips focused on education, medicine, homelessness and poverty, immigration and disabilities. The overall goal of the TRIPS program is to serve, learn, live responsibly, seek wisdom and understand differences. Participating or leading a trip is definitely a life changing experience and brings together students of all majors, ages and lifestyles at St. Norbert.
Those who decide to lead or participate in a trip will spend about a week in either a local, national or global community. There are two international trips that are each two weeks in length and 14 other trips that take place across the United States. A trip consists of hands-on service, education about a certain social justice topic, bonding and reflection. Participants and leaders will engage with people from a multitude of religious, cultural and economic backgrounds. Although it will be an exhausting week, it will also be an amazing experience. This is a great opportunity for students to work toward creating a community that is all about the common good.
Applications for the TRIPS program closed on Sept. 17 and leaders are excited to get to know their participants and prepare for their journeys to help communities everywhere. Over 150 people will participate or lead a trip this year and St. Norbert College will continue to lead by example, standing in solidarity with the common good.
I am a current TRIPS leader, co-leading the Immigration and Refugees Issues trip in Jan. to Chicago. Last year I attended the Urban Poverty trip to Philadelphia, which is now known as Our Brothers Place: Learning to be Family with Those Who Have None. I was a freshman and knew I wanted to get involved, so I applied for TRIPS at the last minute and now as a sophomore, I find myself preparing to lead my very own trip. My first trip helped me demolish any stereotypes I had towards those who were homeless and influenced me to apply to lead a trip this year. I realized that hands-on learning is the most important way for me to become properly educated about social justice issues and I want other people to be able to experience that as well. I encourage those who have participated in TRIPS to continue to share their experiences with others and attempt to bring what they learned on their trip to their current community.
The TRIPS program is yet another of the characteristics that sets St. Norbert College apart from other campuses around the globe.