Service and justice remain at the top of the Pam Rector Center for Service and Action’s (CSA) priority list, no matter the season. LMU students, faculty, and staff continue to uphold LMU’s philosophy in educating the whole person while spreading our Jesuit community spirit.
“In this holiday season, CSA is grateful to our students, faculty, and community partners who are engaged in critical work in service and justice,” Patrick Furlong ‘06, Director for the LMU Center for Service and Action, said. “LMU students are committed to being people with and for others, during the holiday season and all year round.”
This fall, hundreds of LMU students volunteered their time to service efforts across Los Angeles, including lending a helping hand to under-resourced schools in the L.A. area, nourishing the unhoused through Campus Ministry’s Feed the Hungry, and working to combat domestic violence at two L.A. based shelters.
Most recently, Magis, one of CSA’s ten service organizations, had its Seats and Feets fundraiser to raise funds for underwear and socks for Blessed Sacrament Church, a Jesuit parish in Hollywood, by selling hot chocolate and apple cider. While Ignatians, another service organization, created hygiene kits for the Guadalupe Homeless Project, a nonprofit that is part of the Jesuit parish Dolores Mission in East L.A. The group delivered the kits to the Mission during its annual Posada.
“When it comes to community-based service learning, education and building relationships with members of that community are key,” Furlong said. “It allows our students to dive deeper into the issues at hand and ultimately makes the service experience more meaningful to all involved.”
Furlong added that CSA has relished the opportunity to connect students to the greater network of nonprofit community partners in and around L.A. through partnerships with faculty across LMU in Community-Based Learning (CBL) courses. These courses provide students with the opportunity to connect their academic passions and talents to opportunities to do meaningful work for and with the most vulnerable in L.A.
Looking ahead to 2023, Furlong says that students are currently in the middle of their pre-trip meetings to prepare for spring and summer trips to West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, and Morocco through CSA’s Alternative Breaks Immersion program.
“We had some great virtual immersions during COVID and then last year we had some wonderful domestic trips,” Furlong said. “But this year, we are excited to finally be returning to international trips – the first since 2019!”
Director Furlong describes the Alternative Break Immersions program philosophy as “educational learning experiences” where students are challenged to think critically about social conditions and the root causes of a particular issue. As a group, each trip generates and executes a post-trip action plan to create real social change in their communities upon their return from these real-world experiences.
Our Lions are committed to service and justice, and many are actively working to make the world a better place. With that in mind, as we reflect on this year, we are grateful to our students, faculty, and community for their service and involvement in such wonderful and meaningful ways. On behalf of LMU, we wish you and yours a peaceful holiday season!