Loyola University Chicago

Campus Ministry

Division of Student Development

Alternative Break Immersions

Alternative Break Immersions

The Alternative Break Immersion (ABI) program provides opportunities for students to expand learning and personal development beyond the classroom through a weeklong service and immersion experience. The ABI experience is shaped by the four pillars: building community, deepening faith, living simply, doing justice. Through both direct and indirect service, education, reflection and conversation, students and staff will spend the week exploring these pillars in the context of an immersion experience. We visit 20 different communities over winter break, spring break and following commencement activities in May.

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

This varies depending on where you go! Some trips have more direct service (home repair, working with children in a classroom or people experiencing homelessness) while other sites focus more on relationship building, education, and learning about the systems that contribute to injustice. Please see ABI Sites for a breakdown on where we go and what we do.

Regardless of the trip, the ABI experience has been transformative for many of the students and staff who choose to participate. From preparing and sharing meals together to spending evenings reflecting and playing games, participants have walked away with a deeper sense of community and solidarity with people on the margins of society.

Each year, almost 200 student leaders, staff leaders and participants participate in an ABI. Each trip 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 and encouraged to apply for an ABI! 

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.