Not Your Ordinary Winter Break: Students Prepare for January Service Trips
During winter break, 14 Fairfield University students, faculty and staff will head to Costa Rica and Ecuador to participate in service trips. The Fairfield University's Campus Ministry has a long tradition of offering students the opportunity to spend time in other countries through international and domestic service trips to learn about the realities, hopes, and struggles of those living in situations of economic, political or social marginalization.
In Quito, Ecuador, students will partner with The Working Boy Center, a family-centered development program, geared towards providing education, vocational training and life skills development for children and their families. Students will participate in a variety of programs and projects including teaching alongside yearlong volunteers, which includes Fairfield alumnus Robbie Schwartz '15, working in the Center’s workshop, soup kitchen and building a house for a local family with a community sponsored program called a “minga.”
In Mastatal, Costa Rica, students will work with Rancho Mastatal, a sustainable education center. While on the service trip, students will learn about natural building, permaculture, organic gardening, greywater and blackwater solutions, agroforestry and community development. Students will participate in workshops, lectures, shadowing, one-on-one skill development, and daily farm-sustaining practices. Students will be exposed to new ideas and tangible skills that they will be able to take back home in order to promote a more sustainable global culture.
In addition to Campus Ministry's service trips, Ashley Byun, PhD, associate professor of biology, will travel with Alexandra Martin ‘17 to Brazil to work with Projeto Tamar. Projeto TAMAR is a Brazilian non-profit organization owned by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation that aims to protect sea turtles from extinction on the Brazilian coastline. Fairfield’s collaboration with Projeto Tamar began in 2011 as part of the "Field Experiences in Brazil" course.
While volunteering with Projeto Tamar, students help dig artificial nests, transfer loggerhead turtle eggs and patrol the beaches at night in order to protect the nesting mothers. Additionally, students conduct independent research projects, which will include monitoring nest temperatures and conducting experiments on how urban lights effect hatchling orientation. Alexandra Martin ’17 will be Projeto Tamar’s first Fairfield University intern.
Pictured: Rachel Sieber '18 during a service trip Nicaragua in June 2016.