Photo by Mark Rossbach ’21 | Students board the LP busses on their way to on of their service sites.
By Jackson Moran ’21
For the past twenty years or so, almost all Brophy students have had one similarity: a love/hate relationship with the Loyola Project vans.
The Loyola Project (LP) vans were a shining example of frugality on campus, as they were purchased brand new in 1999 and 2000, and were in service for almost 20 years.
While in their 20 years of service, making them older than any Brophy student on campus, they accumulated a very low average of about 80,000 miles per van, with some variance.
They were in remarkably good condition, mechanically speaking, for 20-year-old vans.
Yet, their most memorable characteristic was the deteriorating interior that nearly 15 people could occupy at once.
The inside of the vans had been abused by past LP participants, mostly having to do with garbage being left on board, seat upholstery being torn and foam cushioning being ripped apart and discarded.
The dilapidated interior was an unfortunate reality of the vans, and it often lead to uncomfortable rides and a disdain for the vans.
Another facet of the grueling drive to your LP site, sometimes a half-hour journey, was the lack of air conditioning and heating inside the vans.
Having LP during the latter months of the summer in the first semester was dreaded by all.
Cold winter days were equally feared, requiring students to bundle up to prepare for the unheated car ride to and from the LP site.
This grueling time in the van effectively prepared us for LP, and even created a longing for our arrival to the site.
The vans essentially made it feel as though arriving at LP was the greatest relief, and made us more eager to work and participate, often for fear of going back into the vans.
This made the vans a crucial part of the LP experience, a sort of baptism by fire (or ice) before entering into service.
The front passenger seat, since it was the only one to get marginal air conditioning, was the most coveted spot.
The desire to be the first person to the van, the first person to call “dibs” or “shotgun” was strong among every participant.
This person was also elected to curate the radio.
The music selected often set the tone for the entire trip.
After all, a good song can help you forget that you’re in a fifteen passenger van without air conditioning on a hot September day.
Everyone envied this person and drivers certainly made their best effort to keep front seat privileges distributed evenly among those who desired them, but it was often the same rotation of people who held the “throne”.
Despite the van’s poor condition, every participant formed lasting memories on their torn seats.
The vans were fantastic instruments of Brophy’s community building mission, as they provide for a common experience between multiple generations of Brophy students.
During the latter years, each trip was a gamble as to whether or not the van would hold up until the group returned.
It almost always did.
The LP vans were where lasting friendships were formed, allowing participants to reminisce upon their favorite LP van story, which are almost always eventful.
You need only say “LP vans” and you will hear stories of misfortune, exaggerated suffering and most of all, fun times.
The LP vans have left a legacy in our memories and in our hearts.
While it is unfortunate that no future class will ever endure the uniquely Brophy experience of riding in the dilapidated old vans, students do not have to fear for them.
They are currently fulfilling a new duty in Nogales, Arizona, where they were donated to assist the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) on its mission.
There, they will be used to transport cargo and supplies to and from KBI’s service sites.
It is a wonderful next chapter in the service life of the LP vans, but nobody will ever forget the influence they had on Sophomore afternoons.