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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter

© Santa Clara University, March 15, 2004, Vol. 3, No. 5

Student with Salvadoran boy

Student on 2001

El Salvador trip 

Staff and students 'discover' Spring Break alternatives 

Once again, some Santa Clara students and staff will have Spring Break experiences that are alternatives to sun, fun and relaxation.

The DISCOVER program at Santa Clara University has made possible an expansion of “immersion” programs, to new areas and to include more students, plus faculty and staff.


This spring’s trips, cosponsored with the Pedro Arrupe S.J. Center for Community-Based Learning, will send students to under-served urban and rural areas in California, Arizona and Mexico.

The largest group will go to Tijuana, Mexico, to build two houses. 

Three staff members, Vidalino Raatior (Center for Multicultural Learning), Michael Colyer (Arrupe Center) and Amy Erekson (DISCOVER). (Erekson is the daughter of associate provost Charles Erekson.)

More opportunities for faculty, staff


Catherine Wolff, director of the Arrupe Center, is recruiting faculty and staff to participate in the annual faculty and staff immersion trip this September to El Salvador. Those who are Interested should email her or at 408-554-5011.


During the week of March 21-28, 89 SCU students will be participating in seven immersion experiences in: Oakland, Los Angeles, and Modesto, Calif.; Tuba City, Ariz.; Immokalee, Fla.; Tijuana, and Nogales, Mexico.


The three staff members will accompany the students throughout their experiences, provide extra support to the student coordinator, and help lead daily reflection sessions.


Highlights of the Spring Break trips:


  • SCU students will live and work in Oakland for the first time, hosted by several Catholic parishes in where they will live in the homes of parishioners in West Oakland. The students will work as tutors and teaching assistants at St. Martin de Porres’ elementary school, spend time with the residents of St. Mary’s Senior Center, and meet with a wide range of community leaders.
  • SCU students will spend a week at the Dolores Mission, a Jesuit parish in East LA, whose parishioners work against gang violence and human rights abuses against youth and immigrants, and provide childcare, educational, and employment opportunities.
  • In the Central Valley farm areas around Modesto and Stockton, SCU students will be hosted by the California Coalition for Rural Housing and will examine models of how different ethnic, racial, immigrant, and low-income groups have attempted to meet their housing needs and build community. 
  • The Santa Clara students traveling to Tuba City, Arizona, will spend the week in one of the Native American reservations of Navajo Nation, learning about the region’s health care, education, welfare and environmental issues, and tutoring Navajo children at one of the local elementary schools.
  • The Florida group also will focus on migrant farmworkers, hosted by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Immokalee Friendship House.
  • In Mexico, the largest group will go to Tijuana, where they will work with AMOR ministries, a non-profit interfaith organization whose mission is to provide housing for the poor, to build two simple houses. In Nogales, SCU students will work with the Borderlinks program, a bi-national non-profit corporation recognized by both the U.S. and Mexican Governments. The Santa Clara participants will experience the US-Mexico border firsthand, stay with families in squatter communities, and meet with workers and newly arrived migrants on the border, government and immigration enforcement officials on both sides of the border, and business people. 

Faculty and staff who would would like to participate in future immersion experiences should  e-mail Michael Colyer or call 408-554-2747.


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