Spring Break

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Spring Break is nearly here. Over the next two weeks, there will be no lectures, no presentations, no papers, and no exams. This is a time for students to set aside the demands of the semester, to relax and recharge, to reconnect with family and friends, to create lifelong memories, and to get energized for the remainder of the semester. Meanwhile, many of our dedicated faculty and staff will remain busy preparing for the coming weeks as May Commencement quickly approaches.

At Valpo, we seek to develop women and men of knowledge and character who commit themselves to the pursuit of truth and the creation of enduring change for the sake of the world. Valpo students are active participants in the world, connecting academic study, service experience, and future aspirations to lead and serve.

This spring, Valpo students, faculty, and staff will dedicate time during Spring Break to serving communities near and far, to expanding their worldview, and to embodying the Valpo spirit through athletic competition:

  • The Harre Union, Chapel, Social Action Leadership Team (SALT), Fraternity and Sorority Life, and Volunteer Programs are collaborating to offer eight service trips, with space for 86 students (including 16 student leaders) and 16 advisors. Trips include home repair in Central Appalachia; working with Habitat for Humanity in Biloxi, Mississippi, to replace homes lost due to hurricanes; a faith-based home repair trip to Jonesville, Virginia; continued partnership with Heart for Texas to assist with hurricane recovery efforts in Houston, Texas; two disaster recovery trips, including one for first-year students, to Wilmington, North Carolina; a fraternity and sorority life disaster recovery trip to the Florida panhandle; and a Cherokee culture immersion trip to Northeast Oklahoma.
  • The Bach Institute, along with the Chorale, Bach Choir, Bach Orchestra, and Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and St. Louis, Missouri.
  • The men’s and women’s basketball teams will compete in their Missouri Valley Conference Tournaments, and competition continues for spring sports, including women’s bowling, softball, baseball, women’s and men’s golf, and women’s and men’s tennis.
  • Dan Blood is taking a group of WAVES students to Guatemala through a partnership with the University of Colorado.
  • Fifteen students in the College of Arts and Sciences and Christ College — The Honors College will travel to London with Lee Orchard as part of their “London Stage” course.
  • Dawn Bartusch is leading a group to Norway to examine their criminal justice system.
  • Thais Carter, Janelle Love, Byron Martin, Richard Severe, Katie Karstensen, Kristin Lewis, and Heath Carter will lead a group of 35 students on a trip to New York City, pulling together context, culture, and conversation to help students explore their identity through the exploration of New York. Some highlights include visiting Harlem and Spanish Harlem, Ellis Island, Stonewall Inn, the Tenement Museum, and breakfast with Inez Parker ’51.
  • Students, faculty, and staff from the College of Nursing and Health Professions will travel to Minneapolis and White Earth, Minnesota, to learn about Native American culture and health care, learning to consider a client’s culture when planning care. In addition, the College is sponsoring trips to Italy, China, Germany, Thailand, Chile, and Costa Rica and Panama, as well as a partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences to Northern Ireland.
  • Psychology faculty members Michelle Abraham and Angela Vernon will lead a group of six students on a trip to Mbabane, eSwatini, to visit schools and clinics designed to serve children who have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Through a variety of service projects, students will gain an understanding of developmental and cultural factors that are important in nurturing children.

Each year, we gather together as a community for a special blessing for all those traveling on a service trip. I encourage you to attend this send-off service, which will take place at Friday’s Morning Prayer Service at 10 a.m. in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

No matter how you choose to spend the next couple weeks, I urge you to keep Mother Teresa’s words in mind. As members of the Valparaiso University community, together your actions combine to make a difference here on campus, in your hometown, and around the world. You are called to engage in the larger world, to seek truth, serve generously, and cultivate hope.

I pray for safe travels for each of you and that you return refreshed and eager to continue your pursuit of knowledge through the remainder of the semester.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.
Valparaiso University