Habitat group largest in U.S.
Students to Spend Spring Break Serving and Learning
The number of Providence College students participating in Habitat for Humanity during this year’s Spring Break — March 2-10 — has doubled since last year, making the College’s Habitat service group the largest in the country for Spring Break trips.
Other student groups will go on various domestic and international service and academic enrichment trips during the same week. In all, approximately 350 students and a dozen faculty members will spend their “Alternative Spring Break” week serving and touring.
Through Campus Ministry, about 230 students will travel to 16 locations in nine states, including Indiana and Tennessee. Groups of about 7-20 will help build homes with Habitat affiliates in Athens; Ohio; Baltimore, Md.; Bloomington, Ind.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Burlington, N.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Concord, N.C.; Georgetown, Del.; Goldsboro, N.C.; Monroe, N.C.; Mount Airy, N.C.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Waynesburg, Pa.; Wilmington, Del.; and York, Pa.
“It’s wonderful to see such a high rate of participation at PC,” said Richard Lumley, campus minister, who coordinates the Habitat trips in the Office of the Chaplain/Campus Ministry.
Lumley said there is a 100 percent increase in student participants since last year. A number of factors contributed to the surge, according to Lumley, including the “great work” of student leaders publicizing the trips this year.
Each group is student-led and will spend five days building houses. Students work about six hours a day doing things such as dry walling and painting.
“Habitat Spring Break is a great way for PC students to help provide affordable housing for low-income families, and the trips also provide an opportunity for students to build meaningful friendships with their peers,” said Lumley.
For students who cannot participate during Spring Break or want additional experience with Habitat, PC offers a “Saturday Builds” program where volunteers can spend the day with the Providence affiliate building homes in the city, he noted.
“Alternative Spring Break service immersion trips are a unique opportunity for students to expand their understanding of local and global communities, as well as directly confront issues of immigration, global health, and poverty,” said Heather Whitney, service-learning coordinator in the Feinstein Institute.
• Twelve participants, including Dr. Eric Hartman, adjunct assistant professor of global studies, will be going to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to work with the Lakota Nation through the nonprofit Re-Member organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of reservation life through relationships, shared resources, and volunteer services.
• Fourteen participants, including Dr. Todd M. Olszewski, assistant professor of health policy and management, will participate with Outreach 360, whereby students will teach English to children in schools and orphanages in the Dominican Republic and support community health education.
• Fifteen participants, including Rev. John C. Vidmar, O.P., associate professor of history, will work with Esperanza International and its partner Fundación Esperanza de México, to support local families in Tijuana, Mexico, to improve their quality of life and communities by building homes.
Several other trips are planned by students and faculty during Spring Break:
• Sixty students in the Liberal Arts Honors Program and eight faculty members will visit cultural and historical sites in Paris, France. Honors program students are invited to join an international trip each spring to enrich their academic studies.
• Twelve students are going to Cusco, Peru, to participate with Aldea Yanapay, ASI Juvenil. Eight will be going to Lima, Peru, to participate with Red Joven Sur, Casa Hogar Santa FaustinaASI Juvenil. Students will volunteer for the week to learn about the varying socioeconomic characteristics within the country. Kahlil Yanes, a former Feinstein Institute staff member, will meet the students in Peru. Students will work with local university students who run an after-school program targeting the neediest children, meet with leader organizers, and work with a local nonprofit that offers workshops and education to help women entrepreneurs navigate the Peruvian economic system. They also will meet with community leaders to learn about the formation and history of shanty-towns.
• Esteban Quijada Link ’13 (Wellington, Fla.) is leading eight students and Kaytee Stewart, an advisor in the Feinstein Institute, to Nicaragua to learn about fair trade coffee and social, political, and economic conditions in that Latin American country. The group’s visit is being facilitated by the Witness for Peace organization.
• Three students will be participating in individual service trips. Jacob Weaver ’14G will serve the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center Assistance Committee to learn more about enhancing the education system in the country. Katelyn Higgins ’14 (Franklin, Mass.) will be participating in a service-learning trip to Belize. Grantis Peranda ’13 (Santa Clara, Calf.) will be working with the International Volunteer Headquarters in Costa Rica.
These three students, as well as the trips to Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru, were partially funded with Santander Universities Student Global Service Learning Grants. The grants are intended to provide students with the financial assistance necessary to participate in international service programs and projects.
--Genevieve Marie Ilg ’14
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