Throughout my time at Dominican I have learned a great deal and I have been so blessed to have a variety of life-changing experiences. But one of the things that I have really appreciated the most is the love and passion for service that is truly at the core of our Dominican values. We can even see it clearly in the section of our Mission Statement that says, “To give compassionate service and to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.” I believe that giving service is something that everybody should experience as it gives you a much broader view of the world, whether it be just in your own local community or in the larger global community.
In my opinion, Dominican does a wonderful job of providing students with a wide array of opportunities to engage in service projects. Our Community-Based Learning office works with many agencies in the Chicago area to find ways for students to work with people in all different walks of life and to learn through experiences. Students have the opportunity to do community-based learning as a part of courses they take and they may also elect to just do it on their own. Besides this, the office also works to provide students a chance to study abroad in countries such as Guatemala and Haiti, working with the people of these countries in various capacities. University Ministry also holds various Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) trips to various parts of the United States to participate in various service opportunities.
I have been fortunate to be able to participate in a variety of these service projects that are really such a strong part of what Dominican University stands for. I have done Community-Based Learning through courses, where I have tutored in a middle school and helped out at a Jewish Rehabilitation Center for the elderly. I have gone on an ABI trip through ministry to Nazareth Farm in West Virginia, where I met some wonderful people and helped to repair houses in a poor community for a week. And this January I will be venturing to San Lucas Toliman Mission in Guatemala, where myself and the other members of the Dominican will work with the mission at experience a rich culture hands-on. The fact of the matter is that I could talk about each of these individual opportunities in detail and write pages upon pages about them, but what is really important is the impact that they have had as a whole on me. They have prompted me to take up various volunteer positions in the surrounding community, and brought to my attention all of the incredibly people that are out there. They have also alerted me to the many social injustices in the world, and have pushed me to want to spend my life working alongside people who are also passionate about social change.
Without Dominican’s dedication to service and providing these community-based learning opportunities to students I would not be who I am today, and I would not have the drive to want to become a more informed, active global-citizen.