TRIPS (Turning Responsibility Into Powerful Service) is a program at St. Norbert College that organizes service trips to communities around the country that are experiencing social justice issues, ranging from “Environmental Injustice” to “Children’s Medical.” During these service trips, SNC students get to explore the social justice issue by immersing themselves into a new environment while helping the community they become a part of. Over the time of the week-long trips, group members are able to build meaningful connections between each other and the community members that they are serving.
People join TRIPS for a range of reasons, and many of the participants are members of the honors program. Freshman Julia Johnson visited the St. Anthony’s School: Education for the Whole Person, and said, “I wanted to help people out while growing my active citizenship.” Julia also said that since she was an education major, she felt that helping at St. Anthony’s in Milwaukee would help her better understand issues and topics that she may come across in her career. Matt Gille, another freshman, is going on the “Children’s Medical: Stitched With Love” trip over Spring Break to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Matt also signed up for a service trip that reflects his future ambitions. He said, “I look forward to my service trip because I enjoy working with kids and I want to work in pediatric psychiatry one day, so this would be a good, eye-opening experience for me.” Though there are endless reasons to join a trip, all TRIPS members seem to have similarly positive experiences while they are serving.
Senior Jackie Schneider, who served at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, had an unforgettable experience on her trip. Jackie said, “We were able to help out the hospital and serve in its most needed areas at such a hard time for so many-- the holidays. With the service I completed, the friends I made, and the generosity I encountered, I wouldn't have changed this TRIPS program experience for anything. I regret to say I failed to participate in TRIPS until my last year on campus.”
Sophomore Morgan Sobeck, who participated in the “Children’s Medical: Stitched with Love” trip to Memphis, Tennessee last year, cited her experience as “one that allowed me to grow closer with members of the SNC community while working together to contribute to the betterment of the Memphis community.” Morgan said, “Our group spent one week in Memphis volunteering at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and other areas in the surrounding community. The variability in our volunteering allowed us to familiarize ourselves with issues at many different levels in the healthcare industry in Memphis. By the end of our week together, our group had developed into a family, bonded through service.” Morgan’s sense of her group as a family is echoed by freshman Miranda Lobermeier, who said, “I knew coming into college that I wanted to take part in service opportunities, and I feel so blessed to have been able to share this TRIPS experience with such an amazing group of people that I now consider family.”
Because of the wide range of different social justice issues to explore, along with trips that can take place all throughout the school year, the TRIPS Program is a great opportunity for most -- if not all -- students, regardless of major or interest. Through the workshops, bonding exercises, and the service trips themselves, immeasurable bonds are made between members of both the group and the community.
TRIPS applications for the next academic year open in Fall 2020. Visit snc.edu/trips for more information!