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 campus and areas in and around Los Angeles. 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) spread tidings of comfort and joy to students and many others in a number of ways, including celebrating their 15th annual “Fiesta de Navidad.” Over 80 students from the LMU Ignatians service organization ventured to the Dolores Mission Parish in LA’s Boyle Heights for a mass, holiday arts and crafts, great food, and mariachi music – all in an effort to make the season a little brighter for the parish’s community of unhoused men, in collaboration with the Guadalupe Homeless Project.
“Fiesta de Navidad is just one example of LMU’s commitment to be people with and for others,” Patrick Furlong, CSA’s acting Director said. “And not just during the holiday season.”
As the rest of us prepare to ring in 2020, several Lions will be journeying to locales near and far — Morroco, Cuba and Tucson, Arizona — as part of CSA’s Alternative Break (AB) program. These immersive experiences will afford student participants the chance to explore issues such as immigration reform, education/agriculture and refugee rights.
11 different AB trips are planned for this coming year to virtually every corner of the globe, supporting a myriad of social justice and health issues.
“The goal of the AB trips is to develop active citizens that prioritize being in solidarity with oppressed communities,” said Jessica Viramontes, Assistant Director of the LMU Alternative Breaks Program.
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.
Furlong expressed a similar sentiment, saying that CSA’s mission is to create moments of kinship between students and people from LA’s surrounding communities and the world at large.
Lions hoping to play a more active role on LMU’s service scene are invited to check out CSA’s “All Service Night” on January 28th in Burns Back Court, where student service organizations will be recruiting new members.
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! 🎁