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Alternative Spring Break Offered At Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola press release - March 10, 1999

(New Orleans)—The Office of Campus Ministry at Loyola University New Orleans offers students, faculty and staff the opportunity to spend an alternative Spring Break along the Mexican and South Texas border through the Border Witness Program.

The Border Witness Program began at Loyola over five years ago as a week long educational program to acquaint students with social justice issues along the South Texas border. This year the program will take place March 27-April 2, 1999.

This year 7 students, one faculty and one staff member along with two Jesuits, Ron Schmidt, S.J., and Christopher Lockard, S.J., are participating.

The Border Witness Program educates students on problems facing border towns such as immigration, illegal alien detention, the environment, as well as social and economic issues. Schmidt said to prepare the group for the program they meet regularly to discuss issues they will encounter, from the North American Free Trade Agreement, to community organizing, to the theology of social justice. "We talk about what is going on socially, economically and environmentally in the area." Once immersed in the program the group will discuss issues with individuals ranging from the INS, to the working poor who are employed at maquiladoras, or American factories operating in Mexico.

Schmidt says he would like the Border Witness Program to evolve into a service group that works directly with problems facing this area.