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Dickinson College Spanish Club Students Raise Money for Local Agricultural Workers

Students in Dickinson's Spanish Club held a fundraiser to help support migrant agricultural workers in the local area.

Students in Dickinson College's Spanish Club.

Partnering with Keystone Health to Support Migrant Workers

Students in Dickinson's Spanish Club recently raised $865 to help provide health care to migrant and seasonal farm workers across Pennsylvania. Partnering with Keystone Health, which provides health services to migrant agricultural workers, the students sold raffle tickets over a two-week period to raise funds for the local nonprofit.

The partnership with Keystone grew out of a service-learning program undertaken by students in Spanish lecturer Asuncion Arnedo-Aldrich’s Spanish for the Health Professions course. In recent years, students in the class have worked closely with Keystone to provide interpreters to assist patients at clinics, migrant camps and dental clinics. 

“As part of our class, we read ‘Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States’ by Dr. Seth Holmes, and the irony presented by the book was that the workers for whom we interpreted were picking fresh fruits and vegetables that we eat to stay healthy, but the workers sometimes have difficulty meeting very basic, primary care needs,” explains Ryan Murphy ’20 (biochemistry & molecular biology), president of the Spanish Club.  

Seeing the community's health care needs firsthand inspired the students to take further action. “Students have seen the hardworking laborers at the apple orchard camps. They have seen their health needs when health professionals do outreach to assess their health,” says Arnedo-Aldrich.  

The project also spurred a local alumnus to get involved. Louis Ciampi ’85, president of Independent Graphics, donated the raffle tickets. The students also earned a grant from the Partnership for Better Health to distribute healthy packages to workers, which contained over-the-counter medications and personal hygiene items.

“After seeing how successful this new idea was, we definitely want to continue it in the future," says Natalie Suess ’20 (quantitative economics), treasurer of the Spanish Club. "Even though [Ryan and I] are graduating, this might encourage the new officers to do it.”

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Published January 9, 2020