Loyola University Chicago

Campus Ministry

Division of Student Development


Alternative Break Immersions

The Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) program provides opportunities for students to expand learning and personal development beyond the classroom through direct and indirect service and action. The ABI experience is shaped by the four pillars: building community, deepening faith, living simply and doing justice. While the central piece of the experience is an immersion trip itself (winter break, spring break, summer), the preparation and follow-up are equally important pieces of the holistic picture of the ABI experience.

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

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. We believe in the following principles: 
  • Tread lightly - We remain sensitive at all times, respecting the customs, culture and natural resources of the host community.
  • Mutual Partnership - We seek to cultivate an open, accountable, honest and mutual relationship with our community partners, respecting their wisdom, resources and role as co-educators in the ABI experience.