CONOCIMIENTO – Interfaith Service-Learning Experience in the Arizona Desert

USC students with Samaritan Patrol volunteers at a humanitarian water station in the Sonoran Desert west of Ajo, AZ.

All students, of any or no religious background, are invited to apply to be part of an unforgettable adventure! CONOCIMIENTO 2023 is an experience in service, advocacy, learning and spiritual reflection in Tucson, Arizona, March 11-19, 2023. The week will be both a service-learning experience and an interfaith spiritual retreat. In the Tucson area, we will work with faith-based groups focused on human rights and immigration reform. We’ll meet with undocumented migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, Border Patrol (“migra”) officers, local politicians, and rabbis and pastors working for immigration reform. We’ll volunteer at a meal program and a medical clinic that serve undocumented people. We’ll participate in the weekly vigil at a shrine in Tucson that memorializes those who have died crossing the border. We’ll visit the US side of the border fence at Nogales and visit sacred sites in the Tohono O’Odham Native American reservation. We will experience Native American, Catholic Christian, Jewish, Protestant Christian, and worship and spiritual practice of other faiths. We’ll meditate, pray and reflect together on our experiences, in the midst of the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. We’ll have free time for enjoying the cultural richness of the area, as well. We’ll be living simply for the week, sleeping in sleeping bags on church floors, sharing meals with local people.

Office of Religious Life’s CONOCIMIENTO Alternative Spring Break requires commitment: all students are required to attend pre-trip orientation meetings. In addition, all students are expected to participate in all activities for the duration of the trip and adhere to an alcohol/drug free policy in order to maintain the service spirit of our trip.

For any further questions regarding this application, contact

Trip Information:

Trip Dates: March 11-19, 2023
Trip Cost: $400 payable to USC Office of Religious Life, payable by Feb 23.   Email your application to or drop it off at:

USC Office of Religious Life
835 West 34th Street, URC 106
Los Angeles, CA 90089
(213) 740-6110

Alternative Break Tucson Application March 2023

Full Name Nickname DOB Gender
Major Expected Graduation Semester ID #
Local Address
Local Phone
Email Cell Phone
Please list any special needs (dietary, medical, allergies, etc.)

How did you find out about our trip?
□ Website □ Friend □ Information Table □ Poster/Flyer □ VC Staff □ ORL Staff □ Information Session □ Other___________________

If 21, are you willing to drive a rental vehicle? □ Y □ N
Do you know First aid? □ Y □ N
Are you CPR certified? □ Y □ N
Have you participated in an ASB before? □ Y □ N
If so, which trip and when? _______________________________________________________
Spanish Language Proficiency: □ None □ Basic □ Conversational □ Fluent
Do you have a passport? □ Yes □ No

Parent/Guardian Name Parent/Guardian Email
Parent/Guardian Address
Day Phone Night Phone Cell Phone

EMERGENCY CONTACT: □ Same as above
Name Relationship Email
Day Phone Night Phone Cell Phone

Provider Policy #

CONOCIMIENTO Application 2020

Short Answer Application Questions

Please address the first TWO (2) questions, and ONE (1) of the following FOUR (4) questions and BOTH of the last TWO questions. In total you should answer FIVE questions. Please do not exceed 250 words for each response.

Q1. Spring break trips might sound like a party, but this is not what the Alternative Break trip is about. Why are you choosing hard work over an easy break?

Q2. You will be in close quarters with the same 7-10 people for one week. How are your communication and interpersonal skills? What role do you normally play in a group?

Please choose and answer ONE (1) of the following:

Q1. How do you hope to grow from participating in an Alternative Break (AB) trip and what change do you hope to bring about as a result of your involvement?

Q2. Travelling to any of the AB sites will expose you to many pressing issues. What societal issues (local, national or global) do you feel passionate about?

Q3. What will you contribute to AB? What unique skills, knowledge or qualities do you have that will enhance the group?

Q4. What distinguishes you from the rest of the applicants (personality, character, experience)?

Please answer BOTH of the following:

Q1. Are you interested in the religious and spiritual life of people of faiths other than your own? Are you comfortable being a “guest” at religious ceremonies of traditions other than your own? What faith background/commitment, if any (none is required), do you have?

Q2. We will be visiting with people who have a variety of viewpoints about immigration into the US. Are you interested in learning about these viewpoints, and what viewpoints do you have, if any, on the subject of justice for immigrants?

Please attach a copy of your resume as well.

This application, your resume and an interview (to be scheduled via e-mail) constitute a completed application.


____Sleeping bag
____Water bottle
Clothes: It’s best to dress in layers! Tucson has big temperature swings from cold to hot —
____Warm layers: baselayers, sweats
____Socks – thick
____Pants – rugged
____Underwear (Extras!)
____Comfortable, durable shoes (work/hiking boots, athletic shoes)
____Rest shoes (sandals)
____Hat- with brim – for sun, also a bandanna
Toiletries: (We will have access to showers)
____Toothbrush and toothpaste
____Feminine hygiene products for the ladies
____Pain relievers, band-aids, flu meds, cough drops etc. (we will have a first aid kit)
– Immodium or equivalent for diarrhea
____One week’s amount of any medication you will need to bring

____Comb and tweezers (for removing cactus spines)
____ Things that will keep you comfortable- you know yourself! (Sanitizer, Lip Balm, Vitamins, Baby Wipes, Face Wipes, Q-tips,
____Cash for pit stops and souvenirs
____Snacks for the car ride (some will be provided)
____Day Pack
____Okay to bring laptop, phone
____Your favorite mix of songs for the car ride –
____Guitar or other musical instrument for campfires