• St. Norbert College

TRIPS Program, St. Norbert College

The St. Norbert College TRIPS program mission in to support and develop students to engage their values, convictions, and religious beliefs in addressing the shared needs of our communities.

Vision Statement

We envision a community that deeply considers and regularly chooses the common good.


The T.R.I.P.S. Program is designed to offer alternative break trips that will help students:

  • Serve: Offer direct service to the members of their group and the community they travel to serve.
  • Learn: Gain a deeper understanding of social issues through ongoing personal and group action and reflection.
  • Live Responsibly: Experience shared community responsibility and simple life style.
  • Seek Wisdom: Explore the call to service from multiple faith and value perspectives.
  • Understand Differences: Value diverse cultures and perspectives; introduce students to new experiences and viewpoints that may challenge their faith, understanding, and values.
  • Lead: Strengthen their individual and shared leadership through service.
  • Act: Return to St. Norbert College motivated to continue working in direct service or political action.

Relation to Character Development of College Students

St_norbet_one-300x222.jpgTRIPS is a program that draws from the best resources of two departments from different divisions to empower students to work for the common good. The Office of Leadership Development, Service and Engagement offers resources in empowering students to lead their peers on service experiences, while Campus Ministry offers resources in engaging students’ values and reflecting on those experiences.

The program focuses energy on choosing quality leaders and training, making sure that each group is educated about their sites and issues, prepared to meet a diversity of people, equipped to reflect, and have worked on group skills.  The trips also focus on the values of simple living. Staff challenge groups to define what they mean by simple living and then operate out of that definition and expectation on their trip.

Each group of students on a TRIP has the opportunity to work in a diverse community centered on a particular theme (such as rural poverty, AIDS, Urban Education, affordable housing, or immigration). Each member of the group chooses a leadership role (Education Programmer Reflection Coordinator, Fundraising Coordinator, etc.) on the TRIP so that the two main TRIP Leaders are not the sole leaders of this experience.

Overview of TRIPS

St_norbet_two-150x150.jpgTRIPS (Turning Responsibility into Powerful Service) is an alternative break service program that gives students the opportunity to put into action their values, convictions, and religious beliefs through service. The program is rooted in the ideal that service-learning and reflection can be a medium for personal growth and life changing experiences.

TRIP challenges students to a week of personal, intellectual, social, and spiritual growth through life changing service and solidarity with some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Participants have the chance to learn leadership skills, new perspectives, and a broader understanding of the local, national, and global communities. Along the way, students may experience a new culture and discover how to make positive changes to their selves and our world.

In 2010-2011, TRIPS had…

  • 17 Trips (2 of which were international)
  • 29 Student TRIP leaders
  • 156 participants
  • Over 5000 hours of service

TRIPS also received Breakaway recognition as having the fifth highest percent of students going on alternative break trips.

Obstacles and Opportunities for Growth

The biggest challenges staff face in the TRIPS program is how students can bring the TRIPS experience back to campus. The program leaders strive to help students incorporate their newly gained knowledge into their everyday lives by providing sessions for them to process their experience and challenge them to move to the next step and “change their world” long term. Staff have also invited groups to have re-orientation projects when students return to campus that help them articulate the issues students explored on their TRIPS.

Future Goals for Ongoing Improvement

Staff are constantly working to improve the leadership formation of the student leaders as well as helping students process their experiences. To teach students how to lead a quality alternative break trip, they continually try to refine their training practically and philosophically.

This year program administrators plan to revise the re-orientation process by inviting students to do a personal re-orientation project (journaling, commit to a service sight, research, getting involved) or a group re-orientation project (panel discussion, service activity, public political action). Their goal is that the whole group will take responsibility for bringing the trip back to campus, not just the group leaders.



General Information

TRIPS website:  http://www.snc.edu/trips/

Contact Information  
Sandy Murphy
Campus Minister

Nancy Mathias
Associate Director of Leadership and Service