immersion |iˈmərZHən, -SHən|
1. an act or instance of immersing
2. state of being deeply engaged or involved
The East L.A. Immersion Experience was created by students in Gonzaga’s Comprehensive Leadership Program and began in 2007. Each spring break, a group of students travel to L.A. and experience a unique community that has made a remarkable transformation over the past few decades.
The Boyle Heights name is not tied to 1977 Gonzaga alumnus Fr. Gregory Boyle* but his work to help transform the community would surely make it appropriate if it were.
Homeboy Industries, the company he founded in 1992, is now the largest and most successful gang intervention program in the nation.
Through their interaction with the people of Boyle Heights, students are able to experience the power of community and gain a new understanding of social change.
* Each year Gonzaga assigns a book for the incoming class to read—a book which many professors integrate into their courses. For the class of 2015, that book was Tattoos on the Heart, Fr. Gregory Boyle’s reflections on his work with gang members and the Boyle Heights community. The Los Angeles Times described it as “destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality.”