MARLBORO STUDENTS BREAK FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
MARLBORO, VT – As students across the nation wrap up coursework and make plans for upcoming spring break trips to Cancun, students at Marlboro are planning to pack hammers and nails once again.
For the past two years, students from Marlboro have spent spring break in South Carolina working on building houses for families. This year, students will return to Georgetown, SC, with Habitat Collegiate Challenge.
Last year, students shared a living quarters with a Christian group from Auburn University in Alabama. They were also able to experience native Gullah culture first hand, according to Carrie Renee Weikel, Director of Career Development and Community Service Programs. The Gullah people, Weikel explained, are the only Creole speaking people left in the United States and are native to the islands off South Carolina.
Weikel said seven students and two staffers, herself and Counselor Nancy Pike, will make the trip this year.
“This is a great trip for two reasons. We’ve enjoyed South Carolina because not many students from Marlboro have ever had the chance to experience southern culture,” she said. “Also, it’s wonderful to be out there helping people in a tangible way.”
Weikel, who has been leading college trips for the past seven years, said the college has been involved with community service trips for several years. However, she said, most of the trips are to foreign countries. “I felt it was important that we did some work here, in our own country, ” she said.
Collegiate Challenge is a year-round program, coordinated through the Collegiate Challenge Team at Habitat for Humanity International in Americus, GA. More than 10,500 students from more than 700 colleges, universities and high schools will work at more than 175 sites nationwide for Collegiate Challenge: Spring Break 2003. Collectively, these students have pledged more than $975,000 for the affiliates they are working with.
And as some Marlboro students head south, others
will make their way to Quebec to work on community service
projects with the Cree.
The students of Marlboro College will not be taking the usual college student's spring break this year. They will be journeying into Northern Quebec to visit and study the Cree Model forest. The forest is owned and operated by Aboriginal people.
Students will travel to the Cree villages of
Waswanapi and Ouje Bougoumou. They will meet with a government
representative of the logging industry and tour one of the
largest mills in Quebec.
Students will experience a bush camp, work on community service projects and stay with a Cree family.
"This will give students an opportunity to learn about a different culture without traveling very far," Randy Knaggs, director of the Outdoor Program at Marlboro, said.
The forest students will explore is part of a federal program to create a sustainable forest management plan. It is the only Model forest program owned and operated by Aboriginal people.
"We try to do something like this every
year," Knaggs said.
The trip gives students the opportunity to study indigenous culture and learn about its struggle to maintain that culture. The students will spend their time in the life of the people and the forest, studying the issues facing the Cree.
Few people are aware of the reality facing the Cree. This reality is important to realize, especially for Marlboro students who live in New England. Many New Englanders receive power from Hydro-Quebec and lumber from Quebec forests.
Each student is responsible for a research project, several readings and classes.
Marlboro is participating in the trip through the Hulbert Outdoor Center.