Loyola University Chicago

Community Service & Action

Division of Mission Integration

Student: Lauren Kunzer

Name: Lauren Kunzer
Year in School: Senior
Major: Nursing

Where are you from?

Lombard, IL

What do you like to do?

Travel (anywhere really)!! Crafting, listening to music, sitting on the beach, swimming, hanging out with my friends.

How are (or have you been) you involved in Community Service & Action?

My freshman year I went to the soup kitchen every week and really enjoyed it. Also, since my freshman year, I have been a participant/leader of Loyola4Chicago. I have gone and served with other Loyola students at Centro Romero's after school program, Misericordia's Yoga class, and Jordan Elementary School's Project JAM social justice day. I have also attended and served at other CSA events like Saturday of Service.

Why do you engage in service and action?

I've enjoyed serving since a small age, and hence have chosen a profession in which I can serve others on a daily basis. Attending a small Catholic school in the suburbs planted the seed of service in me and since it has blossomed into a large part of who I am. I serve to learn and immerse myself in new situations. While it is fulfilling to serve and feel the warmth of those you serve, serving others offers a wealth of knowledge and growth for the server. The people I have served during my time at Loyola have taught me many lessons about forgiveness, social justice, and gratitude.

What is one of your favorite stories from your experiences of involvement with service and action?

One of the most memorable experiences I had with CSA, occurred my freshman year. I went to St. Thomas of Canterbury Soup Kitchen, as I did every Friday. This particular day I was on duty to pass out the food after it was put into bowls. As I was serving the food, I started to talk to one of the men that was there. He was about 60 years old and homeless. At first we just got to talking about school. I found out he had gotten a bachelors degree in biology from U of I and planned to go to medical school, but to pay his bills he first worked for a railroad company. When the company went under, he lost everything and lived on well fare for a while before he became homeless. He told me that his daily routine included going to the McDonalds in the area and picking up change from the drive thru, and using that change at the nearest pawn shop. His latest buy was a sleeping bag. This was a very eye opening experience for me as a freshman. I had never really talked to someone homeless before and the experience reinforced to never judge a book by its cover, and that even successful people fall into holes where they cannot climb out and need help.

How do you envision living out our mission of building the greater good past your time at Loyola?

I will bring my experiences and knowledge in social justice to my nursing practice and future volunteer service. Nursing schedules can often be hectic, but I hope to volunteer on my days off at various service opportunities around the city of Chicago.

How are you involved at Loyola outside of CSA?

At Madonna della Strada, I am a Eucharistic Minister and Lector. I also participated in a CLC for 2 years. In nursing, I have completed a research project and created the Undergraduate Nursing Research Council with one of my professors. I love traveling so I also studied abroad in Rome for a semester my sophomore year and went on the Lourdes service immersion trip with the school of nursing.

What is your favorite place on campus?

the little circular space between the doors of Madonna della Strada and the lake. Many a night I have sat out there alone or with friends and had my deepest thoughts. It's an awesome place to just relax and think.

What advice would you give to an in-coming student at Loyola?

I have been asked this several times and I cannot stress enough to in-coming students to get involved in as many activities that you can your freshman year. Usually you do not have to commit a lot of time to activities in your first year so you can weed out what you do and do not have passion for. Once you find your niche and the activities you like to do, put your heart and soul into them.

I would also advice in-coming students to get to know their professors that they have common interests with. Professors can give you a plethora of opportunities you may not have even known existed.

Lastly, study abroad while in college, you will never experience anything like it. You get to explore a new culture, make so many new friends, and essentially have fun and a good time for the entire time you're gone. you'll forget you're going to school there at the same time because you'll be having such a good time!