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2018 SCSJ Spring Service & Justice Trips prepare to embark to sites around the nation

Continuing a tradition that extends back 35 years, Creighton University will send a large student contingent out to sites around the nation to serve, learn, reflect and carry out the University mission on the annual Schlegel Center for Service and Justice Spring Break Service & Justice Trips.

March 2 through 9, 140 students will arrive at 20 different locations throughout the U.S., including Albuquerque, New Mexico, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Stroud, Oklahoma, El Paso, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee.

Creighton's student participants will work with homeless communities, immigrants, refugees, people with intellectual disabilities and underserved people who struggle with finding health care or enough to eat. The trips are part of a twice-yearly effort, once in the fall and once in the spring, to give students firsthand experiences working in, with and among situations and people in a social justice context.

Some students will take advocacy trips to learn more about the roots of social justice issues, or participate in immersion trips such as the one in Montgomery, Alabama, that focuses on the history and legacy of the civil rights movement and racial justice. With that trip, students will meet and dine with leaders from the civil rights movement before participating in the annual commemoration of the March 7, 1965 "Bloody Sunday" crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, that culminated in police attacking civil rights marchers.

Another group of students will participate in an environmental immersion trip in Wheeling, West Virginia, looking at the human and ecological toll of coalmining in the region, along with the attendant labor issues involved in the energy industry.

In St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana, groups of students will study and work in agricultural settings, learning more about food systems and food justice.

Three groups of students will visit the U.S.-Mexico border and learn about the struggles of migrants and immigrants who live on either side of the national boundary.

The trips are often cited by participating students as touchstone moments in their Creighton educations, said Jeff Peak, assistant director of the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice.

"It's hard to believe that what started in 1983, with seven students doing service in Appalachia on their spring break, has 35 years later grown into 375 students a year continuing that legacy of meaningful service, justice education, and Ignatian reflection in communities across the country," Peak said. "I can't wait to see how the students this spring will form meaningful relationships with our incredible host partners and carry those stories with them back here at Creighton and beyond."

For students staying around Omaha or Nebraska, there are also Service & Justice Trips closer to campus: at the Siena/Francis House shelter, OneWorld Community Health Centers, Intercultural Senior Center and Abide Omaha. Students will also travel to Axtell, Nebraska, to work with people with intellectual disabilities through Mosaic.

Upon their return from the trips, students will have an opportunity to share their experiences and reflections during a luncheon hosted by the SCSJ.

Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.