The University’s strategic plan envisions bundled programs that bring together curricular and co-curricular activities in order to develop the qualities of leadership and service that form the distinctive Valpo experience. It also calls for community dialogue that helps Valparaiso University successfully and respectfully navigate difference and build community. The Immersion Trip is a step towards bringing these critical priorities together, creating an experience that is rooted in the classroom, promoted and funded in a way that truly welcomes vulnerable students to participate, meaningfully connects students to faculty, staff and wider Valpo networks, and creates space to reflect on their own history and identity as they enter into discernment about what their vocation is while at the University and after.

For a recap of our first Immersion Trip to NYC in 2019, click here.

THE MODEL

  • Recruit a group of students who reflect the fullness of our student body, with special attention to sophomores and juniors who have the opportunity to bring new perspectives back to campus in a substantial way. At least half of the students participate in a related class that builds context for the trip. The remaining students are selected through a general application pool in order to create the right overall dynamics for the trip and create space for students who may not have room in their schedule for the class. Keeping costs low and the scholarship process streamlined allow for every student to believe that a trip like this is accessible to them.
  • Built around the idea of context, culture and conversation, the trip connects historical moments and markers with people living those stories and in those spaces today, as citizens and neighbors or advocates and educators. How do Valpo alumni fit into these stories, if at all? How do the issues we explore in this place resonate with our campus?
  • A mix of formal tours, informal exploration, conversations with content experts and Civic Reflection with different members of the group throughout the week, we create an experience that immerses students in the systemic injustice that sets up much of what we see as “service” and begins the work of helping students discover the agency to lead in creating meaningful change.

 

If you are a faculty member who would like to recommend a potential site for the 2020 Immersion Trip, click here.

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