Marlboro College

NewsPress Release: 9/06/01Report of Spring Cuba Trip is Topic of Marlboro Presentation

MARLBORO, VT - Three faculty members, one staff member and 18 students of Marlboro College spent three weeks in Cuba in May as part of an expeditionary learning program headed by outdoor program director Randy Elliot-Knaggs. On Tuesday, September 11, trip participants will present a report to the community about their experiences in Cuba. The presentation will include journal-sharing, a photographic exhibit, video footage and a panel discussion.

Expeditionary learning, says Elliot-Knaggs, helps to provide first-time travelers with travel skills. Immersion in the culture, through homestays with local families and community service, teaches them about the difference between being a traveler and being a tourist. These skills can prove very helpful for students who wish to pursue more lengthy internships in their junior or senior years.

The group arrived in Havana and spent four days getting acquainted with the city, then broke off into two focus groups. One, a dance troop from the college, stayed in Havana with dance professor Dana Holby, and worked with a Cuban folkloric dance group learning dances and chanting traditional to Santeria, a religion popular on the island. The other group ventured out of the city into the more rural parts of Cuba, visiting Los Terraces, an intentional ecological community, and Vinales Valley, where the explored natural sites and did community service. Later faculty member Peter Gould presented a mime performance and the group was able to study marine biology and even do some scuba diving.

"There are a lot of places where you can go and encounter third world problems," said Elliot-Knaggs of other, similar trips, such as a recent expedition to Jamaica. "But not a lot where you can see the solutions. Cuba's got them§Cuba's got the solutions. It's a totally different paradigm." He noted that the solutions are not as effective as they might be because of the United States' long-standing embargo of Cuba. "That was hard to see," he admits.

Edmund Brelsford, Marlboro's professor of foreign languages and literatures, will head the presentation on September 11. It will take place at 7 p.m. on the Marlboro College campus, room 38 in the Dalrymple classroom building.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information on this or other events at Marlboro, call (802) 257-4333 or visit the college online at

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