Abby Kurth, a first-year Honors student from Madison, WI has found an organization here at St. Norbert College that fulfills her call to service through the TRIPS program. The primary reason Abby joined the Honors Program was to focus on academics and challenge herself in her classes as she works toward earning a Business major. However, she has come to find other meaningful opportunities for involvement on campus that are developing her personally, such as the TRIPS program.
The TRIPS program, which stands for “Turning Responsibility Into Powerful Service,” takes SNC students - including many of our Honors students - on mission trips to 16 locations across the U.S. along with one international location. These trips, which take place over fall, winter, and spring breaks, focus on completing a service project for a specific social justice issue ranging anywhere from children’s medical to homelessness. This spring, Abby and nine other students will be going to Spartanburg, South Carolina to support a non-profit organization called Christmas in Action in their mission to create affordable, above-standard housing by providing repair work for elderly, disabled, and disadvantages homeowners. This group will be led by Mary Holz and Mikaela Wolf, who also happen to be Honors students. In fact, 47% of TRIPS leaders are Honors students!
For Abby, participation in the TRIPS program means much more than just joining a student organization. Service is an important component of her life, whereas she has already enjoyed completing four mission trips throughout high school. She says they were “extremely positive experiences in my life,” which have motivated her to continue doing service trips in college. Although Abby has a deep background with going on mission trips, she made it a point that emphasize that a student does not have to have any past experience to join the TRIPS program. Trainers and fellow workers will be there to work alongside a student, so everyone is welcome! Abby has quite a genuine reason for her passionate participation, saying: “I've been blessed with so much in my own life that I want to give back to people who haven't been given the same opportunities I've been given. The TRIPS program is one way we can give back to people in our own country we don't often think of when we give back to people in need. You don’t have to go to a third world country to make a difference.”