Tom Naatz | January 22, 2018
Over winter break, many Notre Dame students participated in the Urban Plunge through the Center for Social Concerns (CSC). The Urban Plunge is a three-day program in which students immerse themselves in the challenges facing marginalized people in cities across the country. Most students participate in programs either in or near their hometowns.
Melissa Marley Bonnichsen, the CSC’s social concerns seminars director, described the Urban Plunge as a “101” for students.
“We usually have students that have either a good amount of service in high school or have had the opposite, maybe nothing,” Marley Bonnichsen said. “And they are looking to do something very positive over break or try out this program.”
The goals of the Urban Plunge are twofold, Marley Bonnichsen said. The first, she said, is to encourage students to engage with the challenges facing their local communities.
“The assumption is that either they are very familiar with services offered to people on the margins there, or this might be the first time they have considered what poverty looks like in their backyard,” Marley Bonnichsen said.
Marley Bonnichsen explained that the second objective aims to educate participants on the role the Church plays in combating poverty.
“How do faith based organizations, and-or non-faith based organizations that have that intentionality, how is that working? How are they responding? What does that look like on the ground?” she said.