Loyola University Chicago

Campus Ministry

Division of Student Development


Alternative Break Immersions

**Joint Statement by Ginny McCarthy, Director of Ministry, HSC, and Lisa Reiter, Director of Campus Ministry, Lakeside.**

"In light of the evolving and quickly changing pandemic of the coronavirus, Loyola’s Ministry office will not be offering immersion trips for the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021 due to an abundance of care for the health and safety of our students and the members of our host sites.Immersion trips are times of deep connection, reflection, and community. There is shared travel, meals, stories, living spaces, and prayer. These shared experiences are the heart of an immersion trip. Due to the current need for social distancing, we will not offer immersion trips for the next academic year. We will explore options to connect with our host sites virtually."


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The Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) program provides opportunities for students to engage in service and justice through local, national and global immersion experiences. With the support of staff and leaders, students live the four pillars-community, simplicity, faith and justice-in an authentic and intentional way.

Contact Allison Loecke at aloecke@luc.edu or email abi@luc.edu for more information.

Live Simply 

  • Embrace the culture and customs of the host community by refraining from every day material comforts 
  • Be present by clearing the mind, body, and soul of distractions and assumptions 

 Deepen Faith 

  • Engage in interfaith dialogue with peers in a safe and supportive space 
  • Use Ignatian Spirituality and Catholic Social Teaching as a tool for reflection and hope 

 Do Justice 

  • Learn about and question systems of power, privilege, and oppression 
  • Use service and story as a tool for understanding others

 Build Community 

  • Cultivate an honest and mutual relationship with our community partners, respecting their wisdom, resources and role as co-educators
  • Live with and learn from people of diverse cultures, faith traditions, and values 

This varies depending on the ABI! Some of our community partners offer more direct service (home repair, working with children in a classroom) while other sites focus more on learning about the work of community leaders through lectures, visits and discussions. All ABIs include relationship building with the group and the local community, education about the issues different communities face and reflection on the systems that contribute to injustice in our world. Please see ABI Sites for a breakdown on where we go and what we do.

The ABI experience begins with an orientation, 3-4 preparation meetings prior to the trip and includes follow-up actions and reflections upon returning to campus. ABIs have been transformative for many of the students and staff who choose to participate. Participants can expect meaningful conversation, learning, reflections and a deeper sense of community and solidarity with people on the margins of society.

Each year, almost 200 student leaders, staff leaders and students participate in an ABI. Each group is comprised of a student leader, staff leader (if applicable) and 5-12 Loyola University students. Some sites include working and living in community with students from other schools. Students and staff from all faith backgrounds and identities are welcomed an encouraged to apply for an ABI!

We believe that ABIs are beyond weeklong service and immersion trips! Through intentional preparation, reflection and follow-up, we hope that participants will integrate their experiences into their everyday lives. 
We believe in working with and learning from the communities we visit-we do not act as saviors; rather, we use Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel to inform our hearts as we strive for solidarity with all people, especially those on the margins of society.