A Passion to Serve


Class of 2018 Biology graduate Jelani Bramble-Manning may have left the bluff, but he has taken the LMU mission to heart. The Elk Grove, California native is currently participating in a year of post-graduate service in Quito Ecuador, teaching English to grades K-12 at the Working Boys Center.

The recipient of a 2018 LMU Arete Award for commitment to service and justice through off-campus volunteer service, Jelani plans to return to LMU to pursue his Masters in Urban Education through PLACE Corps.

“I felt very inspired by President (Timothy Law) Snyder’s vision for global imagination and I would like to work in education one day,” Jelani said. “I’m hoping that my time in Ecuador will prepare me for the teaching field and how I plan to pursue social justice issues upon my return.”

Jelani was first taken with the Ecuadorian people and culture on an Ignacio Companions (IC) trip to the country through Campus Ministry. IC trips provide students with the opportunity to expand their worldview and reflect on their Ignatian spirituality while immersed in a cultural context vastly different from their own.

Ranked 8th in the nation for “Students Most Engaged in Community Service,” according to The Princeton Review (2018), Jelani says he was drawn to LMU for its Jesuit values and focus on social justice issues.

“I attended a Jesuit high school, so LMU’s mission statement and values really clicked with me,” Jelani said. “I ended up making a very strong group of friends while on the bluff, and I ultimately plan to spend the rest of my life living out the mission.”

Jelani put his passion for leadership and service into action through a variety of campus pursuits, including as a Resident Advisor, Vice President of the Resident Housing Association, Campus Ministry, as a First Year retreat leader, an Ignatian Ambassador, a teaching assistant for the Academic Community of Excellence and as a member of Creare service organization, among others.

Additionally, Jelani was frequently involved with LMU’s Center for Service and Action, which provides Lions with a slew of opportunities to volunteer their time in the Los Angeles area and abroad. A particular highlight is their popular Alternative Breaks Program, which aims to promote service and cultural exchange on the local, national and international level through hands-on, community based learning.

As for what advice Jelani has for future Lions?

“By the end of your four years at LMU you shouldn’t be able to say ‘I wish I had…,’” he said. “Take advantage of every opportunity available to you on the bluff.”