WU students to take part in several spring break mission trips

Most students go home over the March 2 to March 10 spring break. For others however, they’ll be heading off to one of five different service trips taking place around the world.

According to Assistant Dean of Student Development, Adrienne Tharp, international trips are returning for the first time in four years, which will be the first time since the pandemic. A group of nursing students will be traveling to the Bahamas, where they will be completing health care assessments, which will include visiting a blind association, several nursing homes and a women’s prison. 

The other out of the country trip described by Tharp will be to the Dominican Republic, where students will be working with a women’s group that they’ve already been collaborating remotely with. Business majors will be the primary students going on that trip, where they will be learning how to run a business. 

Tharp stated how important traveling internationally can be for Waynesburg University students. 

“For many of our students, it’s the first time being able to travel outside the country,” Tharp said. “For both of these groups of students, they’re really going to be able to put what they’ve been learning in the classroom and use that in a real-life setting. I think it’ll be some unique and experiential learning for them.”

Dean of Students Kelley Hardie also weighed in on international service trips returning. 

“For international trips in particular, it’s a great way to travel and learn from other cultures and experience a different culture from our own,” Hardie said. “But, also to learn about international practices and procedures.”

Tharp also talked about Gettysburg, which is visited every semester. She described it as a “historical place” that can provide benefits to all majors. While there, Waynesburg University students care for historical monuments, serve on the battlefields of the past and get behind-the-scenes access that daily visitors wouldn’t get.

A group of students will be traveling to Concord, North Carolina, where they will serve with Habitat for Humanity as well. That trip will be led by Angelica Good and Aaron Sielski, Tharp explained. The other stateside trip doesn’t require going far, as TJ Hyland and Alison Cammisa will be taking Bonner Scholars to Pittsburgh with Urban Impact. 

According to the Urban Impact website, their mission is to, “do our part in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission on the North Side of Pittsburgh by following His model of holistic ministry by investing in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and their families in order to develop responsible followers of Christ.”

While service is being highlighted heavily over the week of spring break, the other two components of Waynesburg’s mission, faith and learning, are also prominent factors. 

Tharp expressed how the mission plays out throughout the week-long excursions.

“I think the service trips, any of the ones that we do, it’s really easy to integrate those opportunities, and for students to live out our mission,” Tharp said. “On the other [trips] that aren’t with faith-based organizations, it’s still going to be there. Students are going to have morning devotions, they’re going to have time for reflection.”

When those trips take off as spring break begins, students will begin their week-long  experiences all across the world.