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Wheeling Jesuit Woodchopping Immersion Trip

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A group of Wheeling Jesuit students traveled to Kermit, WV for an immersion trip to chop wood for the Big Laurel Learning Center. This trip provided firewood for everyone that lives in the mountain area for the winter to keep their homes warm.

Since the only way for those individuals to heat their buildings and homes is by wood fire, the students spent five days chopping wood and delivering it to various places on the mountain. A lot of these people rely on the students because they are unable to chop very much wood themselves.

Kristen Shimko. a senior communications major and student leader of the trip said, “This trip truly allows us, as students, to be men and women for others. We work together to help the two Sisters, the Americorps Volunteers, the director of Big Laurel, and a few other individuals who live on the mountain to provide them heat in the winter.”

Men and women for others is a huge part of the mission here at Wheeling Jesuit. These students lived this mission for five days straight to provide as much wood as possible for everyone that lives on this mountain to stay warm this winter.

“Part of the school’s mission is service with and among others. While we are chopping wood, the main part of the trip is to learn about and experience life in rural Appalachia. This consists of living simply as running water is limited to whatever is collected via rain, no cell reception, and simply entertaining by company. It is truly a time to slow down and work with those and learn about their lives,” said Brett Dipuma a Senior Literature and Theology major.

These students had the opportunity to not only provide for the people of the Appalachia but learn about their way of life. Disconnecting from cell phones allows the students to connect on a more personal level that is hard to get when technology plays such a big role in our everyday lives.

“This trip is really a touching experience and highly recommend anyone and everyone to be a part of it,” said Benny Corral a sophomore Business Management major.

This is a life changing experience that more students should certainly take part in. The immersion trip provides many life lessons for every student to cherish.

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Regis University Health Care Immersion–Olen’s Blog

It’s been an abstract journey, one that has led me to reflect upon the nature of life and what it means to live in these days we share. History has shown us that humans eternally struggle to find common ground between our disagreements and what we consider to be the right way to live. So what role are we to play – or why should we play any role at all – in the development of the human race on earth? What do we consider reasonable progress of our individual humanity and our communal role as stewards of the earth? War is a more obvious face of the inequalities permeating our many cultures, but yet even thousands of years of history have not taught the lessons required to establish a cohesive union with our current brethren.

            Some time in the future of man, nature will determine our end despite our best efforts to master both life and destiny. How must we behave and conduct ourselves until this time? Should we move to continue our habits as they are, with little regard to the consequences of our existence? I think not, lest we hasten the deprivation of our humanity and leave ourselves nothing but a tumultuous finale on this earth. Should we not instead find ground stable enough to balance our needs and wants against the realities of communal life? Our existence requires only few things, yet the needs we hold so close and dear are far more superficial than we have been led to believe, and our wants increasingly unjustified as we collect them in abundance. Perhaps it is commitment and focus inward that will lead to our discovery of that which is pure and necessary; it is focus outward that will lead us to treasure the little abundance we have that others do not.

As social beings, I argue that our nature requires us to act virtuously in the care of our fellow beings, avoid selfish posturing on pedestals, and take in all that is our history and legacy in hopes of perfecting a future of broad visions. Such visions must consider the actions that have left our soils bereft of life and look to sustain equality for those that will share in the future of our resources; they must consider the nature of our relationships with our fellow animal beings; they must stress an unwavering commitment to the persistence of justice in the eyes of the beholder; and they must over all else ensure that the lessons of our failings, both past and present, permeate throughout our future.

“I say that man is condemned to be free… because he did not create himself, yet, in other respects is free; because, once thrown in to the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

– Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotion Image