A group of Upper Iowa University students and staff traveled to Belize during spring break for service learning and fun. From left are: UIU advisor Madalina Tincu; senior Kayla Ludwigson, Alma, Wis.; sophomore Daphne Barness, Ossian, Iowa; senior Emily Forseth, Mineral Point, Wis.; sophomore Alicia Neff, Hanover Park, Ill.; UIU advisor Daryl Grove; junior Kristin Day, West Chicago, Ill; junior Kate Weston, Newton, Iowa; UIU advisor Melissa Kipp; senior Frank Atchison, Arlington Heights, Ill.; and senior Anthony DiJohn, Aurora, Ill.
FAYETTE, IA (March 16, 2012)—At Upper Iowa University, the annual Alternative Spring Break (ASB) provides students with an opportunity to serve and learn outside of their community—whether it be Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Georgia, or Belize. In fact, Belize is an every-other-year ASB option at UIU and, for a second time, was this year’s destination (March 3-11) for a group of eight students and three advisors.
While in Belize, the UIU group worked at Ocean Academy High School in Caye Caulker, Belize, a non-profit community high school started in 2008. This recently built community high school is a safe and equitable solution for parents in Caye Caulker so that continuing onto high school does not involve a daily commute to the mainland for their children, which prior to the Ocean Academy was an opportunity only affordable for the privileged few.
At Ocean Academy, UIU students helped with tutoring; supervising adaptive physical education classes, building an outdoor art classroom and picnic tables; painting and sprucing up a children’s park; and helping restore local mangroves. According to Daryl Grove, UIU assistant dean of students/director of student leadership and adventure, who accompanied the group, “Our students are able to learn that they can have a positive impact on the world in which they live, both through service and direct interaction with people.” He added, “However, it is also beneficial for those of us who accompany them, because we are able to watch our students grow through service on these ASB trips.”
Grove said students also took time to enjoy the rich cultural experience of Belize, such as sightseeing to a Mayan ruin, Altun Ha; eating native cuisine at various local restaurants; as well as cave tubing, zip lining, and snorkeling with fish, stingrays, sea turtles, and sharks.
“It was an amazing experience, and I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to gain a different perspective and help this school in need,” stated senior Anthony DiJohn from Aurora, Ill. DiJohn is also the president of the UIU Student Government Association (SGA).
Other students who went on the UIU 2012 ASB trip to Belize included: junior Kristin Day, West Chicago, Ill; junior Kate Weston, Newton, Iowa; senior Emily Forseth, Mineral Point, Wis.; senior Kayla Ludwigson, Alma, Wis.; sophomore Alicia Neff, Hanover Park, Ill.; senior Frank Atchison, Arlington Heights, Ill.; and sophomore Daphne Barness, Ossian, Iowa. Advisors included Madalina Tincu, UIU coordinator for international enrollment; Melissa Kipp, UIU graduate assistant for health and leadership; and Grove.
For more information about Upper Iowa University, go to www.uiu.edu.
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to over 6,800 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study.
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