Detailed Travel Updates and Day Off Plans

SBA South Carolina was the first group to arrive at their site in Manning, S.C. They landed in Charlotte, rented some vehicles and headed towards Columbia. On the way they stopped for a quick lunch in Great Falls at a local house of pizza. After arrival they quickly got settled in to rest up for a long week ahead. Today the group is excited to spend their free day taking a walking tour of historic Charleston.

SBA Detroit was the only group to have a direct flight. They used their extra time to explore the drive between Detroit and Port Huron, Mich., where they will be serving. Last night, the group enjoyed the scenic views on the beaches of the third largest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Huron, stopping to take a selfie! Today the group is headed back to Detroit for Mass and to explore the art, music, and culture that Detroit has to offer.

SBA Mississippi touched down at the Memphis Airport in the late afternoon and were met by Fr Tim Murphy who oversees Camp Friendship where they will be serving. One participant's luggage did not make the flight, so the group made a quick stop for some necessary back up supplies. Fortunately, the luggage was found and is being delivered this morning. If that's the biggest problem we face, this group is in good shape!

SBA Gulf Coast had the longest layover of any trip, spending about three hours in the Atlanta terminal. They used the opportunity to people watch, and spotted former Senator Rick Santorum. Seems like Anselmians will always find the politicians, on or off the Hilltop!  The group eventually arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi, where the weather is beautiful. After being in planes and airport terminals all day, the group is excited to spend the week outdoors doing environmental cleanup and ecological restoration. They got started right away by taking pictures of the sunset over the water at their campground and new home for the next week.

SBA NYC had a busy day of connections, taking a bus to a bus to a subway train. By the end of the week, they will be masters of New York City's public transportation. There's been a lot of laughter as the group adjusts to their new surroundings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  With so much to see and do in the Big Apple, the group was getting started early today with Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

SBA Maine had the shortest drive. They made a quick pit stop in Portland, Maine for lunch and then pushed on through to Orland. They got settled in at the Emmaus house and made a quick shopping trip for supplies. Then they settled in for baked pasta and salad prepared by three of their participants: Kelsey Leblanc, Eleni Petromelis, and Meghan Golden. On SBA Maine, everybody gets their chance to make a meal!

SBA Kentucky has a long two-day drive, but are using the time for good group bonding. They arrived at the appropriately named 'Super 8 Halfway' in Hagerstown, Maryland around 8 p.m. on Saturday. They were tired and hungry and indulged in some local fried chicken before heading to sleep. They began the day with a bilingual Mass in Hagerstown and then hit the road. Their drive takes them right along the north/south border of the country and close to many historic Civil War sites. They're currently enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery, and hoping to take in some history with their lunch!

SBA Maryland had the latest arrival after some traffic and vehicle delays. Everyone finally arrived safe and sound, but a few hours later than originally planned for. They walked into their new house to find out that one of the local nuns had stocked their fridge with breakfast supplies, and left fried chicken for them. After being tired and hungry, it was more than they could have asked for.

And last but not least, SBA Costa Rica had a long day of travel, and finally arrived at their site tired and hungry (a theme among our last three trips!). The group is staying in Los Chiles, on the Nicaraguan border, and had a several hour bus ride after their flight to San Jose. It afforded them a chance to see much of the country side. The common expression "Pura Vida" is used in many forms in Costa Rica, from a greeting, to a synonym for "excellent."  Strictly translated it means, pure life, in other words…life is wonderful; enjoy it. Every one they've met has been nice and helpful, and they are looking forward to pura vida.

Tired, hungry, but with full hearts and grateful spirits, SBA 2016 is well under way! Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes, and keep following along on Twitter for constant updates and pictures.

Saint Anselm College service trip to NYC

SBA Travel Day Updates: Groups Have Safely Arrived

Saturday, 10 p.m.

As of 10 p.m. on Saturday, all trips have safely arrived at their final destinations! Costa Rica is at their site in Los Chiles and Maryland has arrived at the Benedictine school. Kentucky won't arrive at the David school until Sunday but arrived at the 'Halfway Super 8' in Hagerstown, Maryland where they will spend the night.

Detailed updates will follow on Sunday. Don't forget to follow along on Twitter for additional updates and pictures at #SACSBA.

Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

After a long travel day, South Carolina, Detroit, Mississippi, Gulf Coast, NYC, and Maine are all settled in at their sites. We were been blessed with great weather and only minor problems, including one missing bag. Most sites will use tomorrow as a free day to explore their surroundings and take in the culture and history of the area.

Kentucky, Maryland, and Costa Rica have the longest trips but so far at every check point things have been coming along smoothly.

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!

Saint Anselm College service trip to Maryland arrival

SBA Maryland welcomed by host with fried chicken dinner!

Spring Break Alternative 2016: Service Site Descriptions

Spring Break Alternative is part of the college’s Service and Solidarity Missions through the Office of Campus Ministry. In its 26th year, these mission trips allow students to lean about Catholic social teaching while living and working for those in need. The trips gives Saint Anselm students the opportunity to build and renovate homes, tutor children, serve in soup kitchens, and visit with local families and individuals in the community.

SBA South Dakota group photo

2016 S.B.A. Service Sites

Aberdeen, Mississippi

Participants will work at Camp Glenmary, a summer camp in rural Mississippi for underprivileged youth. Saint Anselm student-volunteers will assist in various tasks such as yard work, painting, and light construction to prepare for summer. They will also engage in the local community and experience southern hospitality.

Biloxi, Mississippi (Gulf Coast)

Student volunteers will work with Community Collaborations International. The primary purpose of the project is gulf coast eco-system restoration. Volunteers will complete projects such as: shoreline restoration, native plant propagation, sea grass restoration, wild-life habitat improvement, dune restoration, storm water treatment, public land restoration and invasive species removal. Students will also spend time with the local Boys and Girls Club.

Ridgely, Maryland

At the Benedictine School in Maryland participants will work in classrooms and residential life settings at a school for children and young adults with disabilities. They serve nearly 200 children and adults ages 5-21.

Each student-volunteer works as a teacher’s assistant during school hours and works with students doing extracurricular activities. Students spend evenings socializing in the residence halls.

Vanceburg, Kentucky

At The David School, our Saint Anselm students will serve youth in grades 9-12, working with the youth of rural Kentucky in an educational setting as teacher assistants, tutors, and even teaching a class. Saint Anselm students will connect with their teachers prior to attending SBA to plan some lessons accordingly and learn more about their student population.

The mission of The David School is to provide a comprehensive educational program for Appalachian high school dropouts and at-risk youths who have limited financial resources and the potential to succeed in a non-traditional setting.

Costa Rica

Through Unbound, a site in rural Costa Rica, participants will engage in outreach to children and build a home for a local family. Last year during Lent the Saint Anselm community donated money to help this group of students build a home for a family in need. During the spring break week these Saint Anselm volunteers will work alongside local Costa Ricans who will supervise them in the weeks’ building project. This community is quite rural and is not equipped with power equipment, so our group will build, mix concrete, and dig the septic system all by hand. Unbound is a sponsorship program to underprivileged children offering them a lifetime of services.

New York City, New York

Students will travel to New York City to work at a new SBA site, God’s Love We Deliver. God’s Love We Deliver's mission is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. Participants will prepare and deliver nutritious, high-quality meals to people who, because of their illness, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves. All of this organization’s services are provided free of charge without regard to income.

South Carolina (Gulf Coast)

Participants will work with Community Collaborations International at the second of two Gulf Coast sites. This organization takes a holistic approach to community recovery. This group of Anselmians will help with flood recovery efforts – working on homes directly impacted by the weather, local community organizations, such as food banks and after school programs, all of whom struggle to meet the increased needs of their clients and constituents. Many of these organizations and their staff members have suffered direct impact from the flood. Our group will work to help these organizations serve their constituents and get back on their feet.


Participants will work at Homeowners Organized for More Employment (H.O.M.E.), an Emmaus Community. This site in Maine serves those most in need. Our 26th year at this site (the oldest of our SBA sites), student volunteers will engage in building projects, serving in soup kitchens, farming, and childcare, while working alongside those who live in the community. This experience helps to expose our students to the realities of rural poverty and the many challenges people in these communities face.

Detroit, Michigan

Participants will work with Blue Water Habitat for Humanity in Port Huron, Michigan, which seeks to put God’s love into action bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope. This week our group will help with a deconstruction project removing items before a property is demolished or remodeled by the owner. The great part about deconstructions is that we can salvage so much to sell in the ReStore, recycle or sell as scrap, helping to reduce landfill impact and raise additional funds to combat substandard housing in our area!

SBA Trips Begin Their Return to the Hilltop

It's hard to believe that the SBA week is coming to a close! Time certainly has flown by but the impact of this short week on our students will leave its imprint for years to come. We extend our gratitude and appreciation to the many agencies and their staffs that have opened their doors to us this past week. Thank you for your tremendous hospitality. And thank you for the work you do each day in loving service of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are so often forgotten. Your example and continued efforts to recognize the dignity of each person you encounter is awe-inspiring.

So our groups begin their departures a little more tired than when they left the hilltop, but with an awareness and a new perspective that we trust will inform, form, and transform them as they unpack from this short week's worth of encounters.

Today, Friday, March 7th:

  • Appalachia and Education will both wrap-up their work and then depart this afternoon. They will arrive at the hotel in Cumberland, Maryland later this evening. Tomorrow morning  they will rise early in the morning for their long day of driving back to Saint Anselm.
  • Costa Rica worked for a few hours this morning putting the final touches on the house they were working on, then they take the five-hour drive from Los Chiles to San Jose. They will stay in San Jose this evening and depart for the hilltop early tomorrow morning.
  • Colorado and Phoenix will get some work in and some sight seeing too before they head to the airport for their red eye flight back to the east coast. These two trips will be the first to arrive back on the hilltop early tomorrow morning.
  • Mississippi headed to Memphis where they will go to a museum dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This evening they stay with Christian Brothers so they can make their early flight tomorrow morning. We expect them back at Saint Anselm in the early afternoon.
  • Maryland and Philadelphia will continue their work at their sites today and tomorrow. Maryland will get an early start to their drive back to campus, while Philly will serve one last meal at noon before making their journey home.

Please keep our students in your prayers for their journey home. We also ask you to keep the agencies and those they serve in your prayers. These dedicated staffs will continue to do important work to meet the needs of the most vulnerable of our society.

Stay tuned to the blog as we update trip arrivals back to campus!

SBA Appalachia: Finding Friendship on the Farm

With a namesake saint best known for the motto "faith seeking understanding," it is no surprise that Anselmians are adept at seeking and finding what they need, whether it be truth, meaning, or simply the destination of a long road trip. This proved enormously helpful for SBA Appalachia, which navigated the curvy Kentucky roads on a stormy Saturday night before finding Glenmary Farm – where they are staying and serving this week – at the bottom of a steep hill without the aid of streetlights. Needless to say, the tired travelers were relieved to reach their destination, and have grown all the happier now that they know the place better after nearly a week there.

Appalachia trip in Cushing Lot, ready to hit the road!

Appalachia trip in Cushing Lot, ready to hit the road!

According to trip co-leaders Amy Sennott '15 and James Murphy '15, their experience at Glenmary Farm has taught them the supreme value of a ministry of presence. This is the soul of true solidarity: setting aside one's own agenda and simply listening to and being there for the person in front of you. Our SBA Appalachia participants learned this lesson in three ways. First, they were inspired by the warm hospitality, openness, and care shown them by the farm managers, an example that proved contagious and set the tone for how the students treat each other and the people they meet. Secondly, the Anselmian group has bonded with students from three other colleges – Loyola University of Chicago, Wheeling Jesuit, and Walsh University – growing together with them by working in mixed groups during the day and sharing large group reflections in the evening. Finally, they were blessed to encounter and hear the stories of a variety of people in the local community through their service work during the day. Whether working on a construction project with local volunteers or singing to elderly residents at a local nursing home, the Appalachia trip participants found that just making other people happy and entering into friendship with them was every bit as valuable as any service they could offer.

Seek, and you will find. This promise of the Lord's came beautifully true for the Anselmians on the Appalachia trip, who found that "solidarity" was the deeper, more lasting and impactful half of "service and solidarity." May that discovery endure in their minds and hearts long after they head back to the Hilltop, and may it translate into the way they live the rest of their lives.


Trips Have Arrived…and the Adventure Begins!

After a long day of travel, the seven SBA trips that left campus this morning (Mississippi, Appalachia, Education, Maryland, and Philadelphia) have reached or are nearing their final destinations, while the trips that left for Boston Logan Airport this afternoon (Colorado and Phoenix) and currently en route on their flights.  We will continually update this post as we hear back from the trips, so please stay tuned to this blog and to our Twitter feed @STA_CampusMin, hashtag #SACSBA.


SBA Appalachia, Education, Maryland, & Philadelphia – a lot of greatness in one place!


Philly hangout

Chillin' in Philly

SBA Philadelphia arrived safely at Saint Francis Inn and were received at the Inn by Kevin, who showed them to their rooms and gave them some basic background information about the Inn and a preview of how their week will go.  One thing he shared that struck the leaders was about the "hidden homeless," low income persons who, while barely affording a place to stay, cannot afford food, utilities, or other necessities, and therefore must make use of the Inn's services.  That gave our students food for thought, hinting at a week's worth of deeper lessons learned when going beneath the surface.   Speaking of food, last we checked the group was sitting down to a dinner of spaghetti and green beans, a nutritious counterbalance to a long car ride of candy consumption.  Tomorrow they are looking forward to a special morning Mass with the staff followed by Sunday brunch.


MD Road Warriors

MD Road Warriors

SBA Maryland, meanwhile, has also arrived at their destination, Benedictine in Ridgely, MD after enduring an arduous journey laden with traffic jams.  Inspired by peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and the musical talents of ukuleleist Ryan Sandford, however, the group reach the school with full bellies and smiles on their faces.  They also enjoyed a chance encounter with the SBA trip groups headed to Philadelphia and Kentucky, making for an unexpected Anselmian reunion on the road!  When the Maryland group arrived at the Benedictine school, they found the campus to be bigger than they expected, and were driven to their living quarters by a couple of the nuns who lived in the convent.  They are excited to finally be there and ready for a full day tomorrow, beginning with Mass and then making a sightseeing visit to Washington DC, where they will be shown about town by Kevin Ward and Ashley Pratte, two Anselmian alums and former Service & Solidarity Missions trip leaders.   Great beginning to a great week!



Rainy walk to dinner

The Ed trip takes the rainy path to dinner!

SBA Education and Appalachia probably takes the honors for longest ride, with an 11 hour trip (with stops) yesterday that should probably earn them some sort of medal!  Thankfully, however, in true teacher fashion the Ed trip made good use of this long block of unstructured time, singing tunes from the Disney Channel and playing games of riddles, while the Appa trip enjoyed many interesting conversations on their van ride.  After staying at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Cumberland, MD last night and enduring another long day of driving the windy Kentucky roads, the Education trip group arrived at The David School (David, KY) around 5:30 pm, while the Appalachia trip arrived at Glenmary Farm (Vanceburg, KY) around 6 pm.  Both trip groups have both settled in at their respective host sites and are enjoying  homecooked dinner tonight – all the cozier and tastier after this long, rainy day!


Mississippi family photo

Mississippi either forgot the camera was rolling, or has a thing for awkward family photos!

SBA Mississippi enjoyed the rare pleasure of a delay/problem free flight, arriving in Memphis early this afternoon and met at the airport by Fr. Tim Murphy, their host at Camp Glenmary who has worked with more than a dozen trip groups from the Hilltop.  Upon arriving at the camp deep in the beautiful Mississippian woods, they took a tour, chopped some wood, and met with a longtime camp counselor who volunteers during the summer.  She told the group about the two camps they run in June: (1) a "Catholic camp" for local area Catholic kids and (2) a camp for economically-challenged children that gets them away from their situations and into the great outdoors, where they can swim, do crafts, and, as one of our trip leaders said, "do what kids should do."  Finally, the group enjoyed sumptuous Southern cooking at its finest, with a dinner of catfish, jalapeno fritters, and blackeyed peas, and ended the evening by walking it off with a trip to the woods to see the stars.



PHX in the airport!

Phoenix has arrived!

SBA Phoenix, along with its travel partner, SBA Colorado, may have overtaken the Appalachia and Education trips in terms of travel time.  Both flying trips left campus for Boston Logan Airport at 2pm yesterday, and after a long layover and longer flights, finally arrived at their housing sites in the wee hours of this morning (keeping in mind the 2 hour time difference).  Phoenix experienced true Benedictine hospitality at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery when the nuns there were up to welcome the group – even at 2 in the morning!  This morning the Phoenix group will be attending Mass and spending time with the Benedictine sisters before heading to the Andre House of Hospitality early in the afternoon.  At Andre House, where they will be serving all week, they will receive an orientation and then a homecooked meal from the yearlong volunteers staying there.  They are tired but excited for a full week of service!



Runners High Visit

Colorado trip says hi to Runners High

Similar to the Phoenix trip, the well-traveled SBA Colorado crew arrived early this morning at their destination, the Berthoud First United Methodist Church, where they will be staying during their week of flood relief work in the area, coordinated by Community Collaborations International.  Although they got what sleep they could on air mattresses on the church hall floor, it must have felt like the Hilton after their weary travel day!  This morning they enjoyed breakfast prepared by church staff before heading to Runners High to hang out with store owners Ken and Deb, with whom the students were connected by SAC Vice President of College Advancement Jim Flanagan.  After enjoying their hospitality, the Colorado trip group trekked to Red Rocks (by minivan, not by foot), taking in the incomparably vast mountain vistas on a full day of sightseeing.  Tomorrow, however, the real work begins!

Day 2 of SBA Departures Is Off & Running!!!

Day 2 of our SBA departures has begun.  Following is the latest update of trips that have departed from campus and arrived at their destinations: [Read more…]

Spring Break Alternative Prepares For Service!

Each break at Saint Anselm College, the Office of Campus Ministry sends students (and a handful of faculty/staff) to do service in several locations both domestically and internationally. The Service & Solidarity Missions program, now in its 24th year, provides its participants not only with the opportunity to serve others but also with an experience that further develops lessons learned in the classroom.

Service & Solidarity candles and crosses at the send-off MassThroughout their week of service, prayer, and reflection students step beyond their comfort zone and ask themselves meaningful questions about who they want to be in the world.

This year 97 Spring Break participants will journey to places such as David & Vanceburg, Kentucky,  Aberdeen, Mississippi, Los Chiles, Costa Rica, Berthoud, Colorado, Ridgely, Maryland, Phoenix, Arizona and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

We ask for your prayers for these participants, for the work they will be doing, the communities for which they will be serving, and the personal challenges each participant will face.

We ask for your support of these participants.  Many times participants come back from these trips overwhelmed with their experience. Please ask them about their week upon their return.

Please consider joining us for the SBA send off Mass on Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m. in the Lady Chapel, Lower Church.

On behalf of the Service & Solidarity: SBA leaders and participants 2013-2014, and the entire Campus Ministry staff; I thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

Susan Gabert
Director of Campus Ministry

All Trips Home Safe & Sound!

All of our SBA trips have returned to campus safe and sound! We had a great welcome home party tonight for all the trips to share and dance together! More stories and photos to come!

Mid-Week Updates

Its hard to believe we are practically at the half way point for SBA! Its amazing how fast this week flies by, yet the memories made and the lives touched last a lifetime. We have heard from a handful of our trips thus far, and expect to hear from the rest by tomorrow mid-morning (so if you don't see the trip you are following here, check again soon!).

Appalachia – checked in earlier this evening when the group returned from service. They said that they are having an excellent time and doing all sorts of projects for the community. They mentioned the importance of "ministry of presence" there, and simply giving people their time and a listening ear to share their story. How powerful that has been! They began the week with some cultural education, and last night were able to attend a bluegrass concert which was a lot of fun! The Appalachian region is rich with culture and music. We look forward to hearing more about Glenmary Farm as the week goes on. maine

Maine – checked in after a long days work stacking wood and working on shingles. They said it has been raining/snowing non stop since they arrived on Saturday, but that has not kept them from braving the outdoors to do what they can to help at H.O.M.E! Today alone they stacked enough wood to heat H.O.M.E. for TWO WEEKS! Dave also jumped in to tell me about how much he is enjoying one of H.O.M.E.'s residents, Clint. Its good to see even a few days in that friendships are being made.

Detroit – was very excited tonight to share about all they have been up to, and I told them I already feel like we know so much thanks to the news article! (see below). Christina talked about Ron, an Army vet from the Vietnam war and how thankful he has been to have their help. It was a last-minute site change but has been a blessing for Ron and his wife. The group is working to make the house more heat efficient by re-roofing and re-insulating his home. Tomorrow the group is having dinner with Habitat volunteers and home recipients and they are very much looking forward to that.

Maryland – is having a wonderful time with their new friends at the Benedictine School, working in classrooms and hanging out in the residence halls in the evenings. Tonight they had just returned from a basketball game with the students. Lets all keep an eye out tomorrow for pictures from "Benedictine Idol"!! – where our students will perform! Philadelphia serves

Philly – served in 2 soup kitchens yesterday, and sorted food today at Philabundance. Their eyes have certainly been opened to the depth of need in Philly. Their special tour guide, alum Brad Landry '09 who now works for the Bethesda Project for the homeless, met up with the group Monday night to take them out for cheesesteaks and joined the group for evening reflection. They said his insight and understanding of the need in Philly was incredibly eye opening and helpful in making sense of the work they are doing this week. Tomorrow they will be connecting with alum Dan McVay '97 at the Cradles to Graves educational program on teen violence at Temple Hospital. So thankful for Brad, Dan and all our alums who re-connect with our trips!!