Faith and service are at the heart of the Loyola Marymount University community. Prior to winter break, students could be found volunteering through university-run programs to benefit the campus and surrounding communities. And while many of our students have gone home to share the warmth of the season with family and friends, others are preparing to travel the globe – driven by the Jesuit tradition and our commitment to a global imagination and social justice.
LMU’s Center for Service and Action (CSA) is making the season jolly for students and many others in a variety of festive ways, including celebrating their 14th annual “Fiesta de Navidad.” Over 80 students made the trip to the Dolores Mission Parish in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights for a mass, holiday arts and crafts, great food, and cheerful music – all in an effort to collect canned goods and hygiene products for the Guadalupe Homeless Project.
“Fiesta de Navidad has become a beloved tradition for both our students and the community we visit,” Patrick Furlong, CSA’s acting Director said. “It’s a festive way to celebrate the season while giving back.”
As the rest of us prepare to ring in the New Year, several Lions will be journeying to such far-off locales as Belize and Guatemala as part of CSA’s Alternative Break (AB) program.
11 different AB trips are planned for this coming year to virtually every corner of the globe, supporting a myriad of social justice and both personal and community health initiatives.
“The goal of the AB trips is to develop active citizens that prioritize being in solidarity with oppressed communities,” said Jessica Viramontes, Alternative Breaks Program Coordinator.
Viramontes describes the AB program philosophy as “educational learning experiences” where students learn about a social justice issue before they embark on their trip, then learn alongside the community, through workshops and hands-on experience. Upon their return, students are expected to become advocates and take action around those issues.
CSA’s newest destination heading into the New Year is Accra, Ghana, where students will learn about social entrepreneurship projects in rural communities led by women. Additionally, they will help develop business models, as well as focus on marketing and sales organization.
Our Lions are committed to social justice and many are actively working to make the world a better place. With that in mind, all of us here at LMU wish you and yours a peaceful holiday season!✨