What is an Outreach Trip?

Outreach Trips place groups of students and staff in domestic and international settings during Fall, Winter, and Spring Breaks for experiential learning and service in community. These trips aim to strengthen the University's relationships beyond the Mountain, and offer students a greater understanding of the world around them. For 30 years the program has fostered long-term community partner commitments whose relationships have been invaluable.

Where do we go?

Costa Rica: Community and Environmental Education
WHEN: Spring Break

The Costa Rica Outreach Trip visits the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Students partner with the school to help maintain the ecological biodiversity of its campus, as well as provide a comprehensive educational experience to its students. These direct engagement components are coupled with the unique experience of staying in homestays with families from the Cloud Forest School. By living and working with these families, students are able to cultivate powerful relationships with the Cloud Forest School community. Meant for engagement, exploration, and immersion, the Costa Rica Outreach trip provides powerful and life-lasting experiences for everyone involved.

Ecuador: Fellowship and Ministry
WHEN: Spring Break

In Quito, students of all faith backgrounds will explore fellowship and ministry through a Latin American lens. Our site host, Cameron Graham, is a Sewanee alumna who serves as a missionary in Ecuador training youth ministry leaders and working to reach out to youth in Quito. The Ecuador Outreach Trip supports Education=Hope, a local non-profit in Quito. Participants can also expect to experience the artisans market in Quito, as well as an afternoon at El Refugio retreat center in the Andean countryside.

Jamaica: Mapping the Epicenter of Reggae
WHEN: Winter Break

In 2019 students constructed two interactive maps of the District of Trench Town in Kingston, Jamaica. These maps reference former notable musicians, craft producers, food and beverage locations, neighborhood subdivision nomenclature, and travel routes. In 2020, students will continue performing this community mapping project by engaging groups of Jamaicans and teaching them the technology. They will in turn edit the information and presentation, to adapt their interpretation and establish an authentic local product. With assistance from personnel in the Geographic Information Systems office, students will be given the tools to perform this project. No prerequisites in specific computer programs necessary. Pre-trip meetings will center on learning about the culture of the country. 

Haiti: Sustainable International Development
WHEN: Winter Break

Sewanee's partnerships in the Central Plateau of Haiti with Zanmi Agrikol, (Partners in Agriculture) a Haitian agricultural NGO, and sister organization to Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health) have helped create opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to participate in long-term agroforestry development work. This trip will expose students to our agricultural re-forestation project that has been in operation for eight of the fifteen years we have been traveling to Haiti. This opportunity can lead to advanced work in the country through various programs under the direction of the Haiti Institute in Sewanee.


Miami: Education in America
WHEN: Spring Break

Over Sewanee’s 20 year history working in Miami, the Miami Outreach Experience has grown to center around classroom tutoring at the secondary level in the Coral Gables High School, contrasted by days spent in the non-traditional education environment of "Shake-a-Leg," an outdoor program for children and adults living with physical, developmental, and economic challenges. Along with supplemental service experiences, these opportunities allow participants to engage with and critically analyze education in the United States. When they are not participating in direct service, students have the opportunity to spend their free time exploring Miami and nearby South Beach.

New Orleans: Affordable Housing and Long-term Disaster Recovery
WHEN: Spring Break

The University of the South has a thirty-year history of engagement in New Orleans. During this Spring Break experience, students will work closely with lowernine.org. Lower Nine is a non-profit organization dedicated to the long-term recovery of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Additionally, participants will work with Jericho Road–a neighborhood-based nonprofit homebuilder that provides families with healthy and energy-efficient affordable housing opportunities. Participants will visit the House of Dance and Feathers, the Whitney Plantation, participate in direct service through construction work in the Lower Ninth Ward and Central City, and much more. Participants will gain a broader perspective on how Hurricane Katrina impacted and continues to impact the area. Understanding New Orleans’ cultural heritage and its history involving race relations beginning with Pre-emancipation is emphasized.

How much does it cost?

Trips cost anywhere from $715-$2240. Need-based financial aid is available for most trips. The total cost includes all travel, accommodations, and food expenses. Student fees are supplemented with year-to-year fundraising after payment commitments are made. A student's financial need does not determine participation, and everyone is encouraged to apply.

Who is eligible to participate?

If you are a current student, you are eligible. If you have already participated in an Outreach Trip, consider applying for a different location. Interviews, previous service experience, and class year determine selection for trips. Leadership positions are available for students interested in repeating a trip.

What is the commitment?

Attendance at weekly meetings during the month(s) leading up to your trip is mandatory. All Outreach Trip participants are required to take part in a letter writing campaign to solicit donations, as well as participate in their trip's fundraising initiatives. Some trips integrate pre-trip advanced project development work.