The spring break trend among students from Notre Dame and other universities to engage in community service activities rather than soak up sun is making a significant difference in the perspectives and lifelong commitments of participants, according to ongoing analysis conducted by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.p. “Consistent with the refrain often heard that ‘I received more than I gave,’ students in our research seem to learn much about themselves and their world from these experiences,” said Jay Brandenberger, director of experimental learning and justice education in the Center for Social Concerns. “They also become more aware of the complexity of social problems and more empathetic with those entangled in them.”p. In addition, Brandenberger said the research indicates that students engaged in service develop a deeper and continuing understanding of social justice issues.p. About 80 percent of Notre Dame students take part in local and national service initiatives, including the annual Social Concerns Seminars conducted during both fall and spring break. One of the largest and most comprehensive such programs in higher education, the one-credit spring seminars begin this weekend (March 10) and will include more than 150 students in six locations nationwide.p. The programs are:p.
? Appalachia Seminar? A Notre Dame tradition for two decades, the Appalachia Seminar will send some 100 students to the impoverished region in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina to explore religious, social, political and environmental issues and to serve in various home repair, clothing distribution, food bank and health care projects.p. ? L’Arche Community Seminar ? Five students will spend a week at the Daybreak community in Toronto, living with individuals with disabilities and examining the work and ministries of Jean Vanier and Henry Nouwen.p. ? Migrant Experiences Seminar ? Fifteen students will work in the fields and assist agencies that serve migrants in Immokalee, Fla.p. ? Washington Seminar ? Twenty-four students will explore international humanitarian issues from the perspective of the nation’s capital. Students will meet with representatives from various governmental, religious and other agencies, and will examine sweatshop labor issues, refugee concerns and other social justice issues.p. ? Holy Cross Mission Seminar ? Eight students will explore the various dimensions of Congregation of Holy Cross collaborative ministries at Nuestra Se?ora de Soledad Parish in Coachella, Calif., where Holy Cross religious and lay persons are involved in evangelization and outreach to the needs of the poor.p. ? Rosebud Global Health Seminar ?This is a pilot seminar that will explore health issues on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Pre-med students will learn about the culture and social issues of Native Americans by shadowing doctors, assisting medical staff and discussing health and education concerns.