Students anticipate spring break trips

A map of 2017 college-sponsored spring break trips including the Eisenhower Institute SALTT program's trip to Azerbaijan

A map of 2017 college-sponsored spring break trips including the Eisenhower Institute SALTT program’s trip to Azerbaijan

By Benjamin Pontz, News Editor

Each year, Gettysburg College sponsors a number of trips to various locations during spring break. This year, the Eisenhower Institute, Center for Public Service, and Sunderman Conservatory of Music are among the organizations sponsoring projects and trips. The Gettysburgian has compiled these short vignettes on each trip.

Eisenhower Institute

As part of two year long public policy programs, groups from EI will travel abroad to further their studies of issues pertaining to their policy area.

Strategy and Leadership in Transformational Times (SALTT): Azerbaijan

See this article for more information on the trip.

Environmental Leadership: Guadeloupe

How many? 10 students, two faculty members, three translators

What’s the goal? The group is studying the problem of Chlordecone, a carcinogen that was commonly used to combat banana weevil from 1970-1993 and is blamed for the island’s high rate of prostate cancer. They will interview local politicians, scientists, and fishermen to learn about the carcinogen’s impact.

Quotable: “I’m looking forward to implementing our project and better understanding the level of knowledge on Chlordecone, the precautions that people have taken against its impacts, as well as who people believe is responsible for its infiltration into major food and water resources.” – Maja Thomas ‘17

Center for Public Service

CPS’s Immersion Project program sponsors experiential learning trips for students who, according to program coordinator Alyssa Waaramaa ‘17, “gain a deep understanding of the problems that communities are faced with as well as the innovative ways that stakeholders are making a positive impact.”

Criminal Justice Reform: Washington D.C.

How many? Eight students and one faculty mentor

What’s the goal? The trip aims to introduce students to problems facing the criminal justice system including mass incarceration as well as the racial and socioeconomic implications of these problems. The group will ride along with police, witness a trial, and meet with advocacy groups and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Quotable: “The past few years have seen real progress; legislators are beginning to recognize the high cost of mass incarceration on both budgets and communities and the Black Lives Matter movement has effectively drawn attention to the excessive use of force by law enforcement on people of color. Still, problems persist.” – Alyssa Waaramaa ‘17

Education and Literacy: Nicaragua

How many? Eight students and one faculty mentor

What’s the goal? The trip will focus on the effects of efforts in Nicaragua to increase literacy including its landmark Literacy Campaign as well as the ongoing challenges in the country.

Quotable: “We hope to immerse in Nicaraguan culture and learn about the education system and literacy campaign in Nicaragua. We are working with PGL, meeting with school administration and students, living with a homestay while in Nicaragua, taking dance lessons and going to museums.” – Yasmine Perry ‘17

Public Health in Rural Appalachia: Kentucky

How many? Nine students and one faculty mentor

What’s the goal? The group will continue their study of public health in rural areas by focusing on challenges, access, and education. They will shadow an alumna physician, meet non-profit leaders, and agricultural and food access organizations.

Quotable: “As a political science and WGS major, I am really interested in how … national, state and local policies work to help educate [and] provide access to health care to those who need it and how women’s health care access compares to general health care access in rural Appalachia.” – Ashley Lookenhouse ‘17

Music, Ritual, and the Struggle for Minority Rights: Dominican Republic

How many? Nine students and one faculty mentor

What’s the goal? Students will immerse themselves in Dominican culture while focusing on the role of music and ritual in the context of Haitian-Dominican tension and poverty. The group will also have a drumming lesson and visit a public school.

Quotable: “We are all very excited to visit the Dominican Republic to learn more about the culture and current social problems that the country faces!” – Ivy-Rose Kramer ‘19

Urban Educational Reform: Baltimore

How many? Five students and one faculty mentor

What’s the goal? The group will visit numerous K-8 schools as well as meet teachers in inner-city schools to gain a deeper understanding of issues affecting urban schools.

Quotable: “Our trip is close by but it still offers a mind blowing experience. I believe that the closeness also emphasizes that you don’t have to fly out to another state or country to get a wholesome experience.” – Vanessa Martinez ‘19

Sunderman Conservatory of Music

College Choir, the premier vocal ensemble in the Sunderman Conservatory, tours annually to perform its repertoire. This semester, Dr. Brent Talbot, associate professor of music, is directing the choir while Dr. Rob Natter is on sabbatical.

Peace and Justice Tour: Greater New York and Philadelphia area

How many? 45 students

What’s the goal? The choir’s program features a variety of songs pertaining to social justice issues including one work arranged by Eddie Holmes ‘18. Themes explored include gun violence, police brutality, faith, empowerment, and ethnonational change.

Quotable: “I am learning more and more that music should be created for a purpose rather than being impersonally created for the sake of itself. Creating music as a means to teach children for example, to remember a lost loved one, or to raise issues of our society all use music for a purpose rather than for itself. Social justice, I believe is the best way to approach music making for this tour.” – Benjamin Fruchtl ‘20

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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 serves as managing news editor of The Gettysburgian, a position he has held since the middle of his first year, during which he wrote 50 articles on topics ranging from student activism on campus to sports. Ben also served as the event coverage and social media coordinator and led the paper's inaugural efforts using Facebook Live and live tweeting events on campus. He is a political science and public policy double major with a minor in music, and he reads up to seven newspapers daily. Follow him on Twitter @benpontz.

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