Service Trips


Spring Break Service Trip

The Spring Break Service Trip (SBST) at the Catholic Student Center is a chance for CSC students to get out of the WashU bubble and to immerse themselves within a different community.  Not only will students become Jesus’ hands and feet through direct service activities, you will also become a force for change by directly engaging with the issues that affect those they meet and work with.  These trips are also amazing ways to experience the reality between faith, justice, and community. 

 Past Trips


  • 2020 KY - Emmaus Farm, Kansas City - Jerusalem Farms, Chicago - Su Casa Catholic Worker
  • 2017 KY - Emmaus Farm
  • 2016 Milwaukee, WI - Casa Romero Renewal Center Urban Plunge
  • 2015 Milwaukee, WI - Casa Romero Renewal Center Urban Plunge
  • 2014 Johnson City, TN - Appalachia Service Project
  • 2013 Cincinnati, OH - Urban Plunge
  • 2012 Harlem, TN - Appalachia Trip

Student Testimonial

“I think an ordinary service trip where we work for a week would have given us a lot of good vibes. We would have gone back and probably resumed life the way it was before we started. [However,] With this trip, I think a lot of us have gained two immense intangibles:

  • Comfort around strangers, especially people disenfranchised by society.
  • A hunger to do more service.

...A lot of us were able to explore what we felt called to do and see the effect we had on others. Knowing that we make a difference on the individual level brings reassurance and fuels the flames that many of us kindled during the week.”

El Salvador “Agape” International Service Trip


The Agape program is a tremendous opportunity to grow in faith, love, and service with a small, tight-knit team.  Agape is a Greek word meaning love.  It is not eros, which is erotic love.  It is not philia, which is akin to friendship.  It is not storge, which refers to familial love.  Agape denotes selfless, self-emptying, self-sacrificial love.  It is what we strive to embody towards one another on the team before, during, and after the trip.  It is what we strive to share with the people of El Salvador. And it is the primary mission of this program to help all participants grow into more loving, Christ-centered servants in this world.  Because of this, the Agape program is more than just a trip; it is a program of spiritual formation and growth.

We strive to make the program about not simply two weeks of service, but about transforming us for a lifetime of service.


When is the trip?

The trip to El Salvador is for approximately 2 weeks each Winter Break.

How many are on the team?

The team consists of 8-10 people, including 1 staff leader and 1 student leader.

What if I don't speak Spanish?

No problem!  You are in good company.  Some on our team may be fluent or proficient, some will speak a little bit of Spanish, while others won't know any Spanish.  We have a translator with us almost all the time, we help one another out, and we discover how to communicate in ways that transcend the language barrier.

To Apply for the 2020-2021 Trip

Contact Michael at if you have questions or are interested in applying.

What do we do?

1. Service.  2. Immersion.  3. Reflection.

  • We go to serve, to pour out love as best we can for 13 days, showing the people there in words and in actions that they matter, that they are important, that we want to know their stories and their reality, and that we want their lives to touch ours. We go to immerse ourselves in that reality, living alongside them in solidarity, if only briefly. And we go to learn about the reality of their lives, that the love we share and the relationships we build may touch our hearts and transform us – in big ways or in small – into more loving servants in this world for the rest of our lives
  • First, we work with an organization – Salvadoran Mission Projects – helping with their Bible School for children.  We spend several days in the community of Ahuachapan in northern El Salvador, living in the community there, loving the kids, giving them positive attention, and demonstrating faith by our love in action.
  • We then partner with a second organization – CEBES FUNDAHMER – going to a community – Monsenor Oscar Romero – with which we  have just recently began an ongoing sister relationship.  We spend 2 nights there staying with host families, living in solidarity, sharing in their lives, learning their stories, offering or time, our love, our presence, and a listening ear.
  • Finally, we immerse ourselves in the realities of El Salvador, both past and present. El Salvador is still fresh on the heels of a very violent civil war from 1979-1992.  We visit sites of massacres, hear people's stories, meet with guerillas who fought against the repressive militaristic government, learn about the Church's history in El Salvador, hear about the life and death of Archbishop Oscar Romero, visiting his home where he was murdered and his tomb, experiencing the powerful impact of his courageous life and how his witness to the Gospel continues to impact those who knew him.  We visit others sites of martyrdom.  We experience how the Church today attempts to serve the needs of the people.  We visit the U.S. Embassy, learning about how U.S. influence, past and present, affects the livelihood of the people of El Salvador.  And we converse with politicians from the major political parties to learn about how they are trying to improve their country.