Sophomore Service Trip to Chicago Set for November 13-15

Maureen Schick , Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The sophomore service trip, which takes place in Chicago every year, is extremely popular among the sophomore class.

The service trip aims to introduce NDA participants to issues of justice and the reality of oppression, an aim consistent with the focus on morality and social justice in sophomore theology classes.

The trip this year takes place November 13-15. For the duration of the trip, the students and chaperones stay at the Brother David Darst Center, which provides the students with immersion opportunities that explore issues of social justice through the lens of Christian social teachings.

While they are in Chicago, the students always visit a men’s homeless shelter in Downtown Chicago. When they are there, the students’ only job is to spend time with the men at the homeless shelter.

Campus Minister Daniel Kriegl loves to see the students interacting with the men because “usually the students are very scared and overwhelmed at first.”

However, as the day goes on and the students start to get to know them better, he explains that “they learn that they are not scary, but just scared people with sometimes sad and tragic stories to tell.”

This experience for the sophomores is extremely “eye-opening,” according to senior Grace Tressler, and the students better recognize Christ in those most in need.

“They also learn to see themselves in those in need as well,” explained Kriegl.

After each day, they reflect, pray and share the stories of the day. So many students meet so many different people, and many times the students have different insights and perspectives. Their reflections help solidify their faith in the sacredness of the human person.

One student who went on the trip her sophomore year was Andrea Ball, who explained that for her “the sophomore trip was more than just volunteering. It was an opportunity to learn more about what homelessness really is and what a problem it is in our society.”

What makes this retreat and service trip unique?  Kriegl explained that “poverty in bigger cities is much different and diverse than when we go to places around Green Bay or Canton.”

“The reflections we are led in during the entire experience,” he went on to explain,” tie in everything we are doing with what the sophomores learn about social justice and the Catholic faith.”