The Winter Immersion Program invites students to live out a 'faith that does justice' by discovering God's presence in the lives of all those they encounter; and to integrate  justice-centered values into their lives upon return.

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Participants will meet weekly with their small groups - familias - for both semesters, learn about the communities they will be visiting, immerse themselves on site during Winter Break, reflect on their experiences, and the further work of justice to which they are called.


WIP's primary focus is to help students live in solidarity with the materially poor and marginalized, especially upon return to campus. WIP is rooted in Ignatian values, Catholic Social Teaching, liberation theology, and the building of relationships as we share our humanity. Our hope is to transform minds, hearts, and hands to live out a faith that does justice.


Our Pillars

  1. Faith

    • WIP invites students to dive into their own faith, and reflect on how to live out a faith that does justice. WIP also encourages students to be open to seeing God in all things, including different cultures, relationships, and in marginalized communities. The WIP program is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and Ignatian values. Students of ALL faiths, or no faiths, are welcome deepen and explore their spiritual life through this experience.
  2. Encounter

    • WIP offers students soul-to-soul encounters and opportunities to have a meaningful interaction with a brother or sister who is on the margins of society.
  3. Justice

    • WIP offers students a difficult and often uncomfortable look at injustices in our nation and world. Students are challenged to open their eyes to, and critically think about, the injustices that exist around the world, examine root causes of injustice, and take actions toward a just lifestyle upon return.
  4. Education

    • WIP seeks to educate students and place them in a variety of environments where they can learn about their faith, justice, Ignatian values, and different cultures. WIP provides specific educational opportunities that are unique to topics of the location where the immersion takes place.
  5. Simplicity

    •  WIP provides a space for students to live simply for a week and to find value in simple living when they return to campus.

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What You Need To Know:

Program Mission & Pillars

Please review the mission and pillars above - they are the heart of the program!

Program Information:

1) WIP meets weekly on MONDAY's from 8:00pm - 9:30pm, in both Fall 2019 AND Spring 2020 (September 23rd 2019 - March 2nd 2020) 

*Weekly meeting days and times will NOT change! If you would like to be part of WIP, ensure you keep Mondays from 8:00pm - 9:30pm free 

  • The Winter Immersion program is not just a week-long immersion. Rather, it is a 2 semester program that invites students to participate in program goals.  To accomplish all this, we enforce our attendance policy of no unexcused absences. We work hard to create engaging and thought-provoking pre and post immersion meetings that help participants understand language and education around the injustice of ALL WIP sites. We also aim to guide participants in deepening their spirituality through reflection, prayer, and group activities. When a group member misses a meeting, is late, or leaves early, it not only affects their experience and readiness to enter into their site, but it also disrupts an established dynamic between the group members, and hinders opportunities for growth among small groups - or what we call - familias.
  • Emergencies and pre-discussed special occasions are exceptions to this rule, but excuses such as homework or “being busy” are NOT accepted and WILL affect your ability to remain in the program. We set this rule to ensure that our participants are getting as much out of this experience as possible, as we are always working for the greater good of our familias. 

2) The Winter Immersion Program’s pillars of simplicity and encounter encourage each participant to fully immerse themselves into the culture and lifestyle of a community. In order for this to be fully possible, I understand I will not have access to my phone during the entirety of my onsite immersion (upon arrival of my location to airport departure from my location). However, the group facilitator, who is with us at all times, will. I understand that if there in an emergency at home, parents or guardians will be able to contact me through Saint Joseph's Universities Public Safety.


3) WIP is a faith-based program rooted in Gospel values, Catholic Social Teaching principles, Liberation Theology, and the integration of faith and justice. 

  • Students of all faith backgrounds are welcome! Please know prayer, discussion, and reflection experiences are central to the program. Students of all or no spiritual or religious identities must openly and actively participate in all aspects of the program.


Please know Campus Ministry is willing to work with students if there are any financial concerns. Please contact Tinamarie Stolz via email.

You can't do this alone! That is why we help make a fundraising plan! 


1. Program Fee - Due first meeting (September) 

  • $625 for international immersions
  • $425 for domestic immersions

2. Minimum Fundraising Goal - Due meetings before travel (December)

  • Your minimum fundraising goal is approximately equal to the cost of my plane ticket. It is a minimum goal, but we ask students will attempt to fundraise more than the minimum because their immersion is heavily subsidized by university funds, and it helps to keep the costs down for the future.  
  • Los Angeles & El Paso - $500
  • Mexico, El Salvador, & Ecuador - $800

Total Costs of 2019:

*Please note that costs can possibly change slightly each year
  • Los Angeles & El Paso = $425 + $500 = $925
  • Ecuador, Mexico, & El Salvador = $625 + $800 = $1,425


We ask that each participant be open to any and ALL locations. Students are applying to the Winter Immersion Program, not a specific location. *Although students who voice financial concerns will be placed in a domestic site upon acceptance.

El Paso 1

El Paso, Texas

Organization - Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey
Volunteer and learn about issues of social justice along the U.S. - Mexican border. In a time where tensions are high along the border, you will come together with local community members to educate yourself and stand with the marginalized.
You will engage in a hands-on examination of the border region and partake in a cultural immersion in the issues that affect the lives of people living between two worlds.  Go from politicizing to humanizing an international crisis.
Dates: January 4th 2020 - January 11th 2020
Cost Total: $925
($425 Program fee + $ Minimum Fundraising Goal) 

Los Angeles, California

Organization - Dolores Mission
Immerse yourself into East Los Angeles like never before. Serve the people of Boyle Heights through Dolores Mission Parish and their Underwings program. Connect with organizations on Skid Row such as Midnight Mission, Union Rescue Mission, and The Catholic Worker. Experience InsideOut Writers, Homeboy Industries (Homegirl Cafe and Homeboy Silkscreen) and the Guadalupe Homeless Project.


Dates: January 2nd 2020 - January 9th 2020
Cost Total: $925
($425 Program fee + $500 Minimum Fundraising Goal)
LA 1

Arbilito/Monte Siani, Ecuador

Organization - Rostro de Cristo
Work alongside the volunteers of Rostro de Cristo. RdC mission is not to fix Ecudaor, but to empower it.  This program relies on building relationships with the Ecuadorian people. The SJU Immersion Program to Ecuador relies on a policy of intentionality that empowers local communities to make decisions and changes for themselves. You will witness the hope and the challenges that co-exist side by side in the people of Ecuador, day in and day out.


Cost Total: $1,425
($625 Program fee + $800 Minimum Fundraising Goal)

CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace), El Salvador

Organization - CRISPAZ
Encounter the people of El Salvador through a faith based organization dedicated to building bridges of solidarity between the Church of the poor and the marginalized communities in EL Salvador; and communities in the US through mutual accompaniment. CRISPAZ is politically non-partisan, committed to nonviolence and supportive of the faith journeys of one another.

Students will do a two-day homestay, learn about the issues facing El Salvador, the dirty wars, and migration. Additionally, they will visit the place where the 6 Jesuits and 2 companions were martyred 3o years ago. Students will learn about Father Romero, visiting where he did his ministry, was martyred, and where he was laid to rest.

Frequently Asked Questions


Cost Total: $1,452
($625 Program fee + $800 Minimum Fundraising Goal)
El Sal 2

Puebla, Mexico

Organization - Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla
The immersion is dedicated to understanding the journey migrants and displaced people take in hopes of a better life. We often think of "the border" as the U.S. -Mexico border; but migrants, especially from Central America, journey through many borders. This immersion take a look at the routes around Puebla, Mexico.
You will encounter migrants, work with Ibero's faculty and staff, visit local communities,and witness the realities of those inside and passing through Mexico.
Cost Total: $1,425
($625 Program fee + $800 Minimum Fundraising Goal)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is this program a good fit for me? Am I a good fit for this program?

  • Students are asked to view the application process as a discernment process. We highly recommend thoroughly reading our mission & about our pillars. We also recommend asking reflective questions:
    • Am I ready, open, and willing to dive into a program that holds these values?
    • Can I get behind these pillars?
    • Do I have the time to commit to this program?
    • Why do I want to partake in WIP?
  • Additionally we recommend talking to WIP Peer Ministers or past participants.
  • Tinamarie Stolz ( is always willing to answer questions.

Do you do any fundraising?

  • Yes! We believe EVERY student should fundraise as much as possible! WIP will provide emails and a link to a donation page to help students ask family and friends to financially support their desire to serve with and for others. We see fundraising as another way to spread thoughts and ideas about injustices; and further WIP's mission.
  • There will also be a storytelling event, The Story of Us, at 7:00pm in the Perch on March 3rd 2020 to thank donors, and show them the fruit of their donation. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook for those who can not physically attend.

Do I pick where I go?

  • Although we do take into consideration where students desire to be placed, we cannot make any guarantees. We ask that students ONLY apply to the program, and be open to ALL locations.
  • Students who have financial concerns, and cannot afford an international immersion, will be placed in a domestic location upon acceptance.

Do I have to be Catholic to be part of WIP?

  • Nope! Students of any faith, or no faith, backgrounds are welcome!
  • Students should be aware that WIP is a faith-based program, and we ask them be open to Ignatian values, reflection, prayer, concepts around God as Liberator, and Catholic Social Teaching.
  • Please be advised ALL students will be invited into reflections, discussions, and experiences around those topics.