Elms offers a number of week-long service opportunities in destinations in the U.S. and abroad. The goals of the service trips are to teach community building, further the mission of the college and the Sisters of Saint Joseph, to implement the Catholic social teachings that form the base of the Elms experience, to instill the importance of cultural sensitivity and service to others, and to teach students how to safely conduct themselves in new environments and cultures.
There are four phases to each trip: the selection process, the preparation program, the on-site program, and the return program. During the selection process, trip coordinators interview students who have applied to participate. The preparation program involves the completion of a case study, following current events in particular country or state to which you are traveling, and a number of reflections, pre-, mid-, and post-trip. Phase three is the actual on-site service program. Tasks vary from year to year and place to place, but past projects have included painting churches and schools, visiting an AIDS clinic, and working with children in local schools. The final phase focuses on readjusting students after your week-long immersion, and also on discussing ways to identify service opportunities and continue your work right here at home.
Students pay their own way, but there are numerous school-sponsored fundraisers you can participate in to raise money, as well as soliciting individual sponsors to finance your trip.
Every trip is led by student leaders, who are overseen by faculty and staff on the trips.
Life in post-Katrina New Orleans is much different than before the disaster struck, but this resilient city is slowly coming back together. Elms students, staff, and faculty travel to New Orleans during spring break to work with Habitat for Humanity in rebuilding activities that have been ongoing since the hurricane.
Elms students, staff, and faculty travel to Jamaica during spring break. The Elms students spend time with the Passionist Volunteers International, a group of young people committed to a year of service in Talanga, Honduras and Stony Hill, Jamaica.
Students who are interested in participating in any of these service trips go through an application and interview process. They are also required to attend meetings leading up to the trip, participate in fundraising and pay a small portion of the cost, and attend a post-trip gathering on campus to reflect on their experience with others and hear what their fellow travelers thought.
Our service trips are open to all Elms students and are chaperoned by a number of Elms College staff and faculty. Students travelling outside the country will need a valid passport.
We are a Catholic liberal arts college founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Massachusetts.