As this faith-filled season continues, Good for U – Gannon University’s wellness initiative – reminds campus community members to embrace their spiritual well-being, and looks to further promote a culture of wellness by reflecting on the Alternative Break Service Trip (ABST) program that many students participated in recently.
Spiritual wellness is the lived experience of being in a relationship with God, which involves the whole self — body, mind and soul. When we are spiritually well, we establish peace and harmony in our lives by aligning our values with our actions. As a Catholic institution, Gannon places particular emphasis on this aspect of wellness and offers many opportunities for the campus community to nurture their spirituality, including the ABST program.
Since its founding in 2014, the ABST program has served as the pinnacle of Gannon’s global outreach by providing students, as well as faculty and staff, with the opportunity to discover more about themselves while making a positive impact on communities throughout the world. Beginning with only seven travel experiences, the ABST program has since grown to offer 12 group travel experiences, with two new programs still being planned for next year.
Laura Goble, director of the Center for Social Concerns, said that students who participate in the ABST program have an increased understanding and awareness of their own spirituality, the local community and diversity worldwide.
“We [The Center for Social Concerns] know that students who have participated in ABST experiences have an increased understanding of, value for and motivation to promote diversity,” she said.
Goble said the goal of these trips is that students gain insight into their vocation, career path or professional life, “while reflecting more deeply on their own values, beliefs and faith; and that they feel more connected to the Gannon community overall.”
During the recent spring break, students had an opportunity to travel to Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, Ontario and Detroit, among other locations, to complete valuable service for the communities there. Moreover, coming up in May, the ABST program will also be offering trips to India and Zambia. Goble said that each ABST experience is about helping students discover who they are and their role in the world.
“We do this by creating opportunities for them not only to encounter suffering and social injustice, but also to meet people who are transforming systems and communities all over the world,” she said.
“Through doing [good] in the world, we become much better at being in the world.”
For more information on how you can embrace your spiritual wellness through the ABST program, contact Goble at firstname.lastname@example.org.