Unexpected Gains

Ecuador service trip

Students and administrators joined with local volunteers to help build two elementary schools in Ecuador. The Dickinsonians spent 15 days in Ecuador during the latest winter-break service trip.

By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Three years ago, environmental-studies major Kelly McIntyre ’14 took her first Dickinson service trip, expecting that she’d come home with a few new friends and new skills. But, she says, she gained so much more.

Today, McIntyre is one of the Dickinson students and administrators who took Dickinson service trips during the recent winter break. The trips are just one of the ways Dickinsonians give back—locally, nationally and internationally—throughout the year.

The house that lacrosse built

a student on the lacrosse team joins Head Coach Dave Webster on a building project in West Virginia.

Head Coach Dave Webster '88, who has led men’s lacrosse service trips every other year since 2006, took 53 members of the team to West Virginia, where they helped build new homes at a Habitat for Humanity site.

Political-science and policy-management major Brian Gleason ’14, economics major Brian Cannon ’14 and political-science major Youssef Gorgi ’14 marked their second lacrosse service trip this year. Together, they’ve also raised more than $40,000 for the National Cancer Society and the Red Cross thus far.

In West Virginia, Cannon’s team installed a railing and doors and built stairs, while Gleason’s and Gorgi’s group installed doors, hung kitchen cabinets, insulated an attic and painted.

“It brought our team closer together, and we had a fun time doing it,” Gorgi said.

“It was very rewarding to put work into these homes, knowing that someone is going to have a warm place to live,” Gleason added. 

Ecuadorian adventure

Fifteen students and two administrators spent two weeks of the winter break in Ecuador through a service trip sponsored by the community service and religious life offices.

There, they worked side by side with Ecuadorian volunteers at two rural elementary schools, laying tile for an outdoor cafeteria, building and painting rooms, planting a garden and constructing a security fence. They also had a chance to play with the children and venture to a cloud forest in a national park and to Ingaprica, home to Incan ruins.

“We went there to serve, but we also learned much about Ecuador, the people of Cuenca and the ways we could begin to understand other cultures,” said Frieda Adu-Brempong ’16, a policy-management major.

“The hardest part was saying goodbye—I felt like I had made 50 new friends,” said Madeline Chandler ‘16, who majors in Spanish. “I have a newfound passion—to make a difference in the world.”

McIntyre can relate. “Before my [first service] trip, I was not really pushing myself to make the most of this short period of time I have in college,” she said. “It opened my eyes to the people I had been missing out on, and all that I could learn from them.”

Published February 10, 2014