Mount St. Joseph University

Alternative Spring Break: A Meaningful One

Dateline: student newspaper

The Mount is known to offer lots of service opportunities and service trips connected to classes, but there had not been a spring break trip in some time. Realizing this, Charissa Qiu (the Coordinator of Campus Ministry) planned an alternative spring break for students who wanted to use their break to serve and learn more about our community.

I wanted to go on a trip with friends, but I also wanted to have time to give back. This year’s alternative spring break fit the bill by giving me a service opportunity the first half of the week and a chance to travel with friends the second half. Although we ended up being a small but mighty group of four, we heavily enjoyed the experiences we had.

On the first evening, we were able to speak with an immigrant family from Holy Family Parish, just down the street from the Mount in Price Hill. They told us of their journey and described the United States as compared to their original home in Guatemala. One of the Principles of Catholic Social Teachings pertaining to human dignity for all seemed relevant as we heard of the family’s hardships even through their smiles.

The next day we ventured to Our Daily Bread and served a wonderful lunch. Using only donations, the chefs were able to make delicious meals for those who needed it most. We also were able to sit and chat with some of the patrons to hear their stories as well as tell our own.

The next evening, we did a poverty simulation with the Cincinnatus Association, a group to which our own President H. James Williams and Chair of the Mount Board John Young are a part. We all struggled to complete the tasks such as getting a job, transportation, childcare, food, etc. Afterwards, we reflected on the true challenge that those in poverty deal with every single day. Yet again, the idea of human dignity for all was prevalent.

These are only some of the highlights of the trip! Over the course of just four days, we were able to hear the stories of many, all the while telling our own. Although we had the week off, we were able to serve and learn, thanks to the funding and organizing done by Campus Ministry, Impact Cincinnati, Social Justice Club, and the Ozanam Center at St. Vincent DePaul.