Learning to Serve Others Through the Student Worker Program

It was in the Recycling Center at Loyola Marymount University that Ramona Sandoval learned to serve others as part of the Student Worker Program.

Sandoval, a senior political science major, is one of 12 women and 12 men in LMU’s Student Worker Program. The unique program gives the Student Workers the opportunity to live on campus and work year-round in various university departments to earn money toward their tuition. In a #JesuitEducation reflection piece on Medium.com, Sandoval writes of her experience in the program and the Jesuit education it has provided.

A Jesuit education means advocating for others

By Ramona Sandoval, Loyola Marymount University ‘17

A Jesuit education means a lot of things to different people, but for me it has meant becoming more socially aware of the world around me and how to advocate for others. The only reason I was able to attend Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is because I was accepted to the Student Worker Program, which gives significant financial assistance to students from low-income families. A requirement of this program is working in the Recycling Center on campus for our first year at LMU. So every morning, I started work at 6:30am with my fellow Student Workers and the FTE’s (full-time employees). It was during those early, dark and cold mornings that I learned what LMU is really about: serving others.

Working with the full-time employees served as the most humbling and eye-opening experience I have ever had. Every person on our team was dedicated to keeping the campus beautiful through collecting solid waste and recycling, and they were even more dedicated to making sure that the maximum amount of materials were being recycled. I learned about environmental justice, and how simple recycling can be. In addition, I learned about different social justice activities on campus because we would service those events. Students here organize events advocating for victims of domestic violence, the homeless, immigrants and many more.

Not only did I learn about these issues by servicing events, but I got to see the full-time employees and their passion for serving the LMU community. These men were always positive and encouraged me to do things I never thought I would have been able to do. They taught me to stop putting myself first and to take a closer look at what the community’s needs are. I was constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be receiving an education, and how many young Latinas from my background do not share that privilege. They encouraged me to help the people that I can in any way possible, and that doing the right thing is most important. I saw them live this out every morning when they would go above and beyond to take care of our campus.

My Jesuit education started with these men and continues to inspire me to serve others. As a junior I am interning at the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, helping provide a number of free legal services to immigrants in Los Angeles. I pursued this opportunity because I found through different LMU events, programs, organizations and my friends in the recycling center, that I am most passionate about serving the immigrant community in Los Angeles. I am not concerned about making a lot of money or impressing people, but using my privilege to help others. I know that I have my Jesuit education to thank for that.

This article originally appeared on Medium.com in August 2015.