Loyola University Chicago

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Social justice in action

Social justice in action

Loyola sends weekly groups to the St. Thomas of Canterbury soup kitchen, just one of many volunteer programs that students can take part in while at the University. (File photo: Natalie Battaglia)

By Lauren Krause

Loyola students quickly learn that a Jesuit education is about much more than books and lectures. It’s about expanding your horizons—and opening your mind—to become a man or woman for others.

Students hoping to put social justice into action can volunteer through a number of different programs offered by Loyola’s Campus Ministry department and its office of Community Service & Action. The opportunities listed below vary on time commitment, location, and type of service—but they are all rooted in the Jesuit ideal of creating a more just world.

St. Thomas of Canterbury soup kitchen

Loyola sends weekly groups to serve the community at the St. Thomas of Canterbury soup kitchen, located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The center accommodates between 90 to 150 individuals per evening, and volunteers are needed to serve meals, set tables, and clean. Groups depart from the Lake Shore Campus every Tuesday and Friday at 3:30 p.m. The only requirement is to wear pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toe shoes. Learn more here.

Alternative break immersion trip

Students looking for a more immersive venture can sign up for one of the dozens of alternative break immersion trips that take place in the winter and spring. Whether it’s gardening in West Virginia or assisting poverty-stricken communities in South Dakota, each trip offers volunteers an experience based on four primary goals and guiding principles: living simply, deepening faith, building community, and doing justice. Learn more here.


Loyola4Chicago’s mission allows undergraduates to experience diversity in Chicago first-hand. This group offers several volunteer options ranging from tutoring sessions, assisting second-language adult immigrants, working with adults with developmental disabilities, and caring for the homeless. The program also includes a reflection component to build understanding of how service fits the Jesuit educational goal of becoming “persons for others.” Learn more here.

Labre Ministry

For those who prefer a service commitment with less structure, the Labre Ministry serves the Chicago homeless, providing them with food and friendship. Led by students, the group departs every Thursday from the Water Tower Campus and seeks out the hungry and poor members of Chicago’s downtown community. Labre’s mission targets solidarity, rather than charity, and focuses on relationship building rather than the act of providing food itself. Learn more here.

Health Sciences Division

Students in Loyola’s Health Sciences Division also have plenty of opportunities to volunteer. Options range from one-time service days to extended international immersion trips. Many of the HSD’s current service programs were started by students, so if you have a project you’re passionate about, contact the University Mission office to turn your idea into a reality. Learn more here