The Catholic University of America

March 5, 2009

More than 100 CUA Students Spend Spring Break in Service

CUA students visit with a resident during last summer's mission trip to Jamaica.

Cancelled flights didn't keep the CUA women's lacrosse team from traveling to New Orleans for Spring Break. After spending hours at the airport on Sunday, March 1, and returning to campus because of a cancelled flight, the team went back to the airport the next morning and finally made it to their Spring Break destination.

Although New Orleans might conjure images of an exciting party town, these 30-plus young women are instead taking part in an alternative Spring Break, building houses for Habitat for Humanity. They are among more than 100 CUA students who have decided to spend this week focusing on people other than themselves

For what has become a seven-year tradition, about 30 students and staff traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Kingston, Jamaica, for Campus Ministry-sponsored mission trips.

The group in Kingston is assisting St. Patrick's Foundation, tutoring poor students and helping the abandoned elderly.

Students in Honduras are serving impoverished people of the country by providing manual labor and fellowship with children and families.

CUA students play with local children during the summer 2008 mission trip to Honduras.

The first Campus Ministry-sponsored mission trip took place in the summer of 2001, when a group of students went to Guatemala to help at local schools and farms. Since then, students have traveled to Panama, Belize and Tanzania in addition to Honduras and Jamaica.

More than 30 students and staff are taking part in Habitat for Humanity trips to Delray Beach, Fla.; Olympia, Wash.; and Belgrade, Mont. In addition, the School of Engineering has a group of students working in El Salvador as part of Engineers without Borders.

"What makes me so excited is that the culture of service that we've tried so hard to create has spread throughout the university," says Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M. Conv., university chaplain and director of Campus Ministry.