Notre Dame students spend summers serving others
Lucas Masin-Moyer | Wednesday, August 24, 2016
A central tenet of the Holy Cross education each Notre Dame student receives is service to the community. This past summer, many students engaged in a Summer Service Learning Program (SSLP), fulfilling this aspect of the Holy Cross mission by engaging in service across the country and internationally through the Center for Social Concerns.
An SSLP is a three-credit theology course where students engage in active service for eight consecutive weeks, according to the Center for Social Concerns website. These immersions are often sponsored by Notre Dame clubs in the area.
Sophomore Brittany Margritz spent her summer working for Habitat for Humanity in Milwaukee.
“Before I went to Milwaukee, I spent a week in Haiti doing service there,” Margritz said. “I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity sporadically throughout high school and went on service trips for the past six summers.”
Margritz’s responsibilities while working for Habitat for Humanity varied from hands-on construction projects to office work for the organization.
“Three days a week, we were out on construction, so we were out on site doing different things like framing houses and finishing work,” Margritz said. “Two days a week I worked in the office with the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, so we have partners in the neighborhood we built in that help us.”
Margritz said that the building aspect of her work with Habitat for Humanity fit in well with her civil engineering major and future career goals. But she said the most rewarding part of the service was getting engaged with the local community.
“It was really nice to work side-by-side with [homeowners] in their neighborhood because we worked in the one neighborhood,” she said. “And we really got to know the neighborhood well, and the whole community was very behind the effort.”
Sophomore Su Jean Park also spent her summer doing an SSLP in Wisconsin, working with the COA Youth and Family Centers. She said she was drawn to the SSLP because it allowed her to learn outside the classroom.
“I really liked the philosophy of intertwining outreach experience and theology,” Park said.
Park, who spent most of her time working with underprivileged children from Milwaukee, said all in all, the experience was a positive one.
“Children are just so malleable, and you can see changes throughout the weeks you know them,” Park said. “It was rewarding just being with the kids and feeding off their energy.”