Alternative Spring Break Programs
Bellarmine began participating in the Alternative Spring Break program more than 20 years ago working primarily with the Christian Appalachian Project in Eastern Kentucky. Since then, the Alternative Spring Break program has expanded with additional trips to locations around the country where students help with a variety of service programs and projects. Each year between 35 and 50 students take part in domestic service trips which immerse students in service and promote exploration of true self and culture. In 2013 Alternative Spring Break service trips include Appalachia (home repair with Christian Appalachian Project), Kiptopeke, Virginia (environmental sustainability with Virginia State Parks), Lake Charles, Louisiana (home repair with Project Build a Future), New Orleans, Louisiana (a variety of service experiences to explore cultural points of race, sexuality, gentrification, etc.). Each year several students who participate in these experiences commit to spending the year after graduation with organizations such as Christian Appalachian Project.
Guatemala Service Trip
International Service trips at Bellarmine University began in 1994 with our first trip to El Salvador. These efforts are currently in their 20th year and continue to be one of the strongest service-learning oriented programs at Bellarmine. Originally created by retired Bellarmine professor, Bob Lockhart, international service trips were also conducted to Peru, Jamaica and India. After joining our efforts with Hearts In Motion, Bellarmine service trips focused on Guatemala, and along with the nonprofit Hearts in Motion, worked in Guatemala providing medical, orphan, childcare and nutrition assistance to individuals and families. The BU students, faculty/staff and community members raise funds for the trip and projects they will be working on while in Guatemala. While the fundraising takes place year round, the trip is scheduled during spring break. The services provided in Guatemala include providing meals to a nutrition clinic and families living in a municipal dump site, painting buildings and murals at various public sites, holding several dental clinics, and any other projects Hearts in Motion needs to be completed. In the past several years, Doctor of Physical Therapy students have been regular participants, and under supervision of a faculty member and Hearts in Motion, they provide services to Guatemalans during this trip.
What Stands Between Us
The What Stands Between Us community conversations at Bellarmine were born out of an existing program of the same name which was developed by Lee Mun Wah of Stirfry Seminars. At Bellarmine we have used this program in its original format which focuses on conversations about race, but then also expanded it to cover other topics such as gender, immigration and sexual orientation. Through this program participants have deep discussions they may have longed for, but have been afraid to start on their own. Participation in this program allows for participants to share and challenge their perspectives, and hear about the experiences of others.
Knights in Action: Day of Service
35 community organizations host 42 faculty, 20 staff, and over 650 students to perform service on the first Saturday of the fall semester. This program emphasizes the mission of the university and challenges students to get involved with service during their first year at Bellarmine. Students participate in reflection following the service. Service ranges from caring for animals with Metro Animal Services to helping individuals with mental and physical disabilities facilitate a car wash to raise funds for an annual trip with Day Springs. 2014-2015 will mark the 4th year for the program, culminating in every undergraduate student graduating in 2015 having participated in service.
Women In Leadership Conference
The Dean of Students Office has hosted Women in Leadership Conference for 10 years. The Women in Leadership Conference is a collaboration with the Student Activities Center, the Career Development Center, Academic Affairs, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The event supports the Bellarmine mission through fostering mentoring relationships that will aid the students in intellectual and career endeavors. The Women in Leadership Conference exemplifies the Bellarmine spirit of service to self and community through the network created by participation in the event.