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LMU Students Keep Justice and Service in Mind Over the Summer


Carlos Rodriguez ’12 did some historical research to prepare for his Alternative Breaks trip this summer. “I wanted to get a feel for a location that has stayed in the hearts of U.S. veterans,” said Rodriguez, a political science major who will spend three weeks in Vietnam with nine other students and a faculty member.

The Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Service and Action organizes 18 Alternative Breaks trips annually to give students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of other cultures and work with local communities on pressing social issues. The focus of the Vietnam trip is the service of faith and promotion of justice. Students will be working with sufferers of Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, and with victims of Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant used during the Vietnam War that was found to cause cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems. “Spirituality and justice are so intertwined,” said Emmy Aceves, a senior in liberal arts who will be co-leader of the trip with Rodriguez. The group will be in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Throughout the Vietnam trip, Manh Tran, S.J., coordinator of the Christian Life Community at LMU, and the students will also meet with groups from different religions. “I’m looking forward to discussions with people of different faiths,” Aceves said. The Vietnam trip is funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

A second group of LMU students is spending three weeks in Korea. The students will volunteer at an orphanage and learn about the issues surrounding international adoptions. Participants will also volunteer at a center for mentally and physically challenged adults and children and a nursing home.  The Korea trip is funded by a private foundation whose family has an LMU graduate and another son attending LMU. The foundation is particularly interested in international adoption because the family that created it includes a son and grandson who were both born in Korea and came to the United States after their adoption.

For more information on LMU’s Alternative Breaks, click here.

Posted May 17, 2010