This past Winter break, January 10-15, students of St. John’s University traveled to Germantown, PA as a part of the university PLUNGE program. One of many service immersion programs offered each year, so named as students “plunge” into a new community and commit to serving the needs found there. The group this January was comprised of 10 young women who went through an application process and formation process, in which they learned of the systemic poverty and other injustices faced in Philadelphia, especially Germantown. They then came face to face with these realities and were able to work with various organizations and agencies throughout Philadelphia committed to serving the poor of the community and recognizing the dignity of all individuals there. Some service sites included MANNA, Broad Street Ministry and Whosoever Gospel Mission.
The students began each morning with prayer, engaged in service throughout the day, and then reflected upon their experiences each evening through the offerings of the St. Vincent De Paul Young Adult Center. When asked about her experience of the Philadelphia Plunge, Regine Auguste commented,
The Philly Plunge was an integral part of my SJU experience. Serving the population of Philadelphia helped me shed a whole new meaning to serving the Vincentian way. From volunteering with food pantries to helping children, the Philadelphia Plunge helped me grow and develop my relationship with God.
The university will be sending another group of “Plungers” to Germantown this upcoming May, 2016.
Other Plunges offered through St. John’s University include:
- Rendu- New York City
- Niagara Falls, New York
- Denver, Colorado
- Los Angeles, California
- Lourdes, France
Leading the Plunge:
- Alexa Shuck-Student Leader
- Victoria O’Keefe- Resident Campus Minister for Social Justice
- Angela Seegel- Director of Vincentian Service
- Sr. Patricia Evanick– Director of Plunge Program/ Campus Minister for Vincentian Service