By Skye Stewart ‘17
Social Media/Features Editor
From May 28 to June 4, 2016, students from the Merrimack College Honors Program will be traveling to the Dominican Republic for the first ever honors service immersion trip offered at Merrimack College.
Partnering with Outreach 360 and the Grace J. Palmisano Center for Campus Ministry, Merrimack students will be teaching at local schools in the Dominican Republic and taking part in a “cultural experience day.”
This trip was proposed by Merrimack students of the Honors Program and is considered a pilot program for the school.
The student trip coordinators, Megan Sheppard and Tyler Andrade, both sophomores, have been planning this trip since April and are excited that this student-run trip is official.
“Planning this trip included contacting different volunteer organizations, researching countries and social justice issues, creating a trip proposal presentation and figuring out a budget. After the planning was done, we went into finding our participants. We interviewed almost 20 students, from whom we picked 10 total honors students to join us on this experience. During the interview process, we looked for those that were passionate about the social justice issue at hand, youth education, and would be able to work well in a group environment and adapt quickly to change,” stated Sheppard.
The honors group will be traveling to a town called Monte Cristi. There they will create lesson plans and teach English to local students throughout the day.
Dylan Scott, a sophomore who will be traveling with the Honors Program, is also looking forward to seeing local schools in the Dominican Republic and seeing what the culture has to offer.
“Our main goal is really to get the kids we are working with to expand their minds and the horizons and to empower them by encouraging them to realize that where they come from does not restrict them from moving forward in their education and in life,” Scott said.
A total of fourteen will be taking part in this trip, including coordinators Megan and Tyler, ten Honors Program students, Father Keith Hollis from the Office of Campus Ministry, and Lisa Cavallaro, who is working on this trip as part of her grad project.
Another Merrimack student, Amshula Divadkar, a junior, was also accepted for this cultural immersion trip. Dividkar feels fortunate to have this opportunity and already started fundraising. She has a GoFundMe account and is preparing fundraising ideas with other trip attendees.
Megan also mentioned that Merrimack students should be on the look out for events next semester. “We will also be holding fundraising nights throughout next semester in order to help raise money to support the cost of our trip, and we hope many members of the Merrimack College community will come out and help support us!”
Photo credit: Megan Sheppard