By Nishtha Sharma ‘26
“What does it truly mean to make a difference in the world? During my service trip to Habitat For Humanity of Sea Island, SC, I found myself grappling with this question as I tried to build a safe and an affordable home for a family,” says Amiya Marbles the Service Programs Coordinator for CCLA 2023-2024. Amiya class of 2026 is double majoring in Geoscience and film/media studies and is a part of groups on campus like college advancement, ADCC, and Black Girls chronicles.
But what are CCLA Service Trips? And what happens on these trips? Service trips are an excellent way for students to obtain leadership experience while working in local and foreign communities. These trips allow students, staff and faculty to assist in meeting community needs without forcing opinions on others. Students engage in intentional reflection and education before, during, and after a service trip to clarify ideas, values, identify connections to academic work, and strengthen their identities as engaged citizens. Our goal is to build experiences that allow people to bring what they learned back to the Dickinson community, whether that means talking about the community, enhanced confidence, or a desire to serve once back in Carlisle.
“From my previous experience on the two service trips I went on, it changed my perspective on many things and gave me motivation to work with the community I currently reside in and the future communities I will become a part of,” says Sarah Do class of 2024, double majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology who loves bread, hello kitty and Spotify! Sarah chose the Service Programs Coordinator for CCLA 2023-2024 position because she hopes to spread CCLA’s values so that other students may also be motivated into becoming ethical leaders of their communities.
“I chose this position mainly because I want to give students the same opportunity I was given, a chance to travel and work outside of your own community,” says Amiya, who was inspired by her first service trip to South Carolina. Amiya values the team building aspect of service trips and being able to connect with people from campus with whom she wouldn’t normally have the chance to. Amiya constantly seeks to inspire and advocate for opportunities like this to other students on campus to build a strong community. She says, “I was able to take my work in past community service events and take them to other communities.” Amiya has gained so much from these experiences of working with new people, getting out of her comfort zone, and learning new things every step of the way. She says she values the importance of proper communication and good leadership skills more.
“The most exciting part of being a Service Trip Leader is the thrill in learning things you never thought you would have learned, whether it be about the people you are with or the community you are serving, there is always something valuable you can gain from going on a service trip,” says Sarah. Sarah believes in the power of help. Help is help whether it is big or small. She says, “You don’t need to donate a grand to help those in need. Mundane tasks (like sorting clothes, tending a garden, etc.!) can be a serious help to many people.” As a senior now, Sarah values the simplest things in life after her experience as a Service Trip Leader and appreciates all the opportunities she was given throughout her time at CCLA. As she looks back from her service trip experiences, she realizes that she hasn't met enough people in her life and that there is so much we can do in the end to give back to our society. She adds, “Our theories and “what ifs” about people we’ve never met before are usually untrue and it has really forced me to unlearn societal norms that are deemed “acceptable” today.”
“Service Trips have changed the way I go about getting to know people and getting involved, making it okay to not know exactly what you’re expecting when going into something new” is something that Amiya wants to let the potential Service Trip Leaders know. Similarly, Sarah believes that one of the most important lessons that she learned was to ask for what might be needed while going on service trips and in that process, if people decide they no longer want the assistance, that's okay too! Both Sarah and Amiya believe that our small steps and efforts are what bring a change in the society!
Interested to be involved? We have two Service Trips for Spring Break! One focusing on environmental sustainability and watershed conservation and the other focused on affordable housing. Both the trips will take place from March 9th-16th, 2024! Here is the link to apply (applications due by 11:59 p.m. on November 5, 2023).