Students spend break in Social Concerns Seminars

by Michael O. Garvey

Some 200 undergraduate students from the University of Notre Dame are spending their spring break (March 8-16) immersed in the social problems of the nation.p. Participating in seven spring seminars administered by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, the students will earn an academic credit by encountering poor and marginal communities, attempting to serve them, and studying Catholic social teachings applicable to their plight. Notre Dame is a pioneer in the field of service-learning and ranks seventh in that category among the nation’s universities, according to a recent U.S. News&World Report survey.p. Among the seminars in which students will participate this year are:p. ? The Appalachia Seminar, in which students will travel to five states in the Appalachian region to examine religious, social, political, and environmental issues and to serve in a variety of community projects. Seminar students will visit and serve in 16 Appalachian communities this year.p. ? The Washington Seminar, “Christian Response to a Violent World,” in which students meet with religious and government leaders and policymakers in the nation’s capital to discuss how to heed the Gospel’s call for peace while accepting moral responsibility to confront and resist injustice.p. ? The Migrant Seminar, in which students travel to Florida and attempt to immerse themselves in the lives of migrant farmworkers during the spring harvest. They pick tomatoes in the fields (donating their wages to agencies serving migrant workers), live with migrant families and meet with community leaders.p. ? The Children and Poverty Seminar, in which students travel to New York City to examine the manner in which poverty and violence affecting urban young people and the efforts of various institutions to address these problems.p. ? The Living the Gospel of Life Seminar in which students travel to Washington, D.C., to study and participate in efforts to oppose abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, human cloning, and stem cell research. They meet with legislators, policymakers and church leaders concerned with the giving and taking of human life.p. ? The Holy Cross Mission in Hispanic Ministry Seminar, in which students study and participate in the parish ministries of Holy Cross priests among the poor of the Coachella Valley of Southern California.p. ? The L’Arche Seminar, in which students travel to a L’Arche household in Toronto, where developmentally disabled people live in community with their assistants. The students also study the writings of L’Arche founder Jean Vanier and other spiritual writers.

TopicID: 3222