Students lend hands, minds during spring break

Students in Nicaragua, 2009.

Students in Nicaragua, 2009.

Thirty Clark University students didn’t head home to recharge their batteries or spend time relaxing in the sun this week, during Spring Break 2010.  These students and faculty are spending time in Brazil, Haiti, Nicaragua and South Dakota, building houses and helping humanitarian aid organizations.  Regardless of what one would call these trips—“service learning,” “social entrepreneurship” or “alternative spring breaks”—one thing is for certain: they are anything but restful.

Following are details about each adventure:

Brazil - As part of a combined Clark University/Seven Hills Global Outreach (SHGO) initiative, 11 Clark students (Rachel Kossar '12, Alyssa Clark ’12, Sarang You '11, David Darden '10, Anne Longley ’10, Isaac Selkow ’10, Kelley Hotti ’12, Lindsay Greene '10, Mohsin Veljee ’11, Samantha Fonseca-Moreira ’10, and Shoshana Zuckerman '12) and Clark alumnus Ian McAuley are in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with David Jordan, President and CEO of the Seven Hills Foundation, and longtime adjunct professor at Clark.  Students and staff are meeting with the Israelite Center of Multidiscipline Support (CIAM) to help promote the social inclusion of children and adults with developmental disabilities.  The trip is the third "social entrepreneurship field experience" planned within the last year.  Previous trips took Clark students to Bo, Sierra Leone and to Accra, Ghana.  Students involved with the trip will earn academic credit through Clark’s Graduate School of Management (GSOM).  

Haiti - Four Clark graduate students are in Haiti with Jude Fernando, professor of international development, to assist humanitarian aid organizations and gather data on the relief effort as an experiential learning project for academic credit.  Each of the graduate students has experience in disaster relief and is pursuing a master’s degree in International Development and Social Change.  Master’s candidates Sarah Abrams Belisea, Hannah Caruso, Jeff Schuhrke, and Tyrone Hall will have one week of on-site training and then be teamed with six Haitian students who will serve as translators. Throughout their stay, the team will stay with local people and organizations.

Nicaragua - Four students went to Guanacastillo, Nicaragua, to work with Bridges to Community, an organization that works on housing and community-development projects with Nicaraguan communities across the nation.  The group is building a house for a family in need.  Audrey Eisemann ’12, Nathan Oppenheim ’11, Alana Osborn-Lief ’12 all worked in Nicaragua during Spring Break ’09.  This year, they are joined by Connor Smith ’12. 

South Dakota - Eleven Clark undergraduates travelled to a Sioux-Lakota reservation in South Dakota to work with Re-Member, an independent non-profit organization on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwest South Dakota that works with the Oglala Lakota People.  Madeleine Rozanski ’12, who traveled to Nicaragua last spring, said Clark students will likely build beds and set up bedrooms for children.  Rozanski is being accompanied by Billy Adams ’11, Kalin Bilides ’11, Alison Canino ’12, Elizabeth Decasse ’11, Kathleen Dolan ’12, Jeremy Foster ’11, Alicia Gauvin ’12, Joseph Kowalski ’10, Jason Smith ’11, and Elizabeth Rosen ’11.

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