Despite rumors, the Ignacio Volunteers program will continue to be an integral part of Loyola and no decisions have been made as to whether the program will change, according to Paul Pastorek, interim chief operating officer.
Pastorek said that budget proposals are currently being discussed and, while changes may be made, the program will not be eliminated.
“We do not want to eliminate the experience. We do not want to eliminate the program. That’s not going to happen under any set of circumstances,” Pastorek said.
Laura Frerichs, vice president of marketing and communications, said Ignacio Volunteers is a standard program at Loyola and that the university understands how meaningful the program is for students.
“It is something that is so essential to our core. We know that it is a contributor to enrollment, it is a contributor to retention. It’s such an important part of our DNA,” said Frerichs.
There is a possibility that the locations of Ignacio Volunteers trips may undergo changes, but decisions have yet to be made, according to Pastorek.
Heather Malveaux, coordinator of immersion programs, started as a student volunteer and stayed involved as an alumnus, developing Ignacio Volunteers’ South Africa and NOLA Urban Immersion trips.
“Ignacio Volunteers altered my entire outlook on life, service, love, human connectivity. It changed the direction of my life and my career choices,” said Malveaux. “I honestly credit all I am today to being involved with this program and being able to grow and develop has been an honor and a privilege.”
Chelsea Conwell, music industry studies senior, traveled with Ignacio Volunteers to Jamaica in the winter of 2018 and hopes that any potential changes to the program will not alter its message.
“Going on my trip was the most life-changing experience that I’ve had at Loyola,” Conwell said. “I really hope they can come to some conclusion in finding ways to allow students to have this amazing experience in the future.”
Amidst the balancing of the budget, members of student organizations, like the students in Ignacio Volunteers, have wondered about potential program cuts. Pastorek said that although the budget is still being created, student organizations and programs will not be the target of cuts.
“There is nothing on the horizon that I am aware of that will result in any cut in any of the student organizations,” he said. “There will be additional investments and it is probably going to targeted in the Student Affairs arena.”