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Students, faculty to discuss Belize international service learning project

WKU students and faculty traveled to Belize for an international service learning project.

WKU students and faculty traveled to Belize for an international service learning project.

A team of faculty and students recently participated in the College of Health and Human Services international service learning program to Belize.

Students and faculty from the departments of Public Health, Allied Health, Political Science, School of Nursing, and Institute of Rural Health participated in this seven-day program Jan. 8-15.

Students who participated in the trip included Erin Bertone of Franklin, Tenn.; Molly Calico of Cincinnati; Jayme Davis of Princeton; Amy Gurda of St. Cloud, Minn.; Matthew Hill of Williamsburg; Jamie Jones of Park City; Katherine Krutza of Bowling Green; Carrie Robin Menapace of Albuquerque, N.M.; Jessica Mitchell of Glasgow; Sarah Moesner of Dale, Ind.; Emily Morse of Lawrenceburg; Jordan Norris of Bowling Green; Laura Payne of White House, Tenn.; Shabbar Ranapurwala of Nagpur, India; Casey Young of Madisonville.

On March 2, the students and faculty will be sharing their experiences through presentations and posters during a Belize Service Learning Symposium called “You Better Belize It! Service Learning in the Yucatan Peninsula.” The event will begin at 3 p.m. at Downing University Center, room 340.

The Winter Term program was an opportunity for participants to take part in interdisciplinary service learning by providing medical, dental, and environmental services to a remote village in Belize. The village, Gales Point, is located in the Southern Lagoon of Belize approximately 35 miles south of Belize City.

During the seven-day program participants provided a health clinic, assessed drinking water quality, conducted a health education night, engaged the local school with an environmental education demonstration, reviewed water quality policy in Belize, and conducted public health research.

During the seven-day trip, members of the WKU group provided medical, dental and environmental services to a rural village in Belize.

During the seven-day trip, members of the WKU group provided medical, dental and environmental services to a rural village in Belize.

A major focus of the program was the process of reflective learning. Students and faculty were engaged in community based cultural learning by participating in a drumming school and sanbai provided by the local village.

Other extraordinary experiences provided through the program were a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Belize, a boat tour of the lagoon system from Belize City to Gales Point, an outing to the Altoon Ha Mayan ruin site, and an opportunity to snorkel at a barrier reef site.

The program provided each student with interdisciplinary opportunities for learning both within the community and individually. Students from each discipline were able to take a three credit hour course. The program was concluded by a final reflective learning discussion on Jan. 16.

During the spring semester, participants will have a Belize Service Learning Symposium open to the WKU community.

During the spring semester, participants will have a Belize Service Learning Symposium open to the WKU community.

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