Spring Break 2020: Wilkes University Students Travel, Study and Perform Community Service Around the World

by Web Services

Wilkes University senior Samantha Trobe is spending spring break face-to-face with tigers and wildcats. If you’re thinking African safari – think again. 

Trobe is leading a team of fellow students who are spending their week-long spring break at the North Carolina Tiger rescue, a non-profit organization that saves and protects animals who have physical and mental disabilities, were part of circuses or roadside zoos or kept as illegal pets. 

Trobe and three other students – Courtney Novak, Megan Kocher and Cilla Ray – will be building a new habitat for one of the big cats. It’s an animal welfare project offered under the University’s LEAP – Alternative Spring Break program which gives students opportunities to perform community service across the country and around the globe. 

“We are all very excited to be participating in alternative break and cannot wait to be working at the North Carolina Tiger Rescue,” says Trobe, who serves as secretary of the LEAP – Alternative Break board. 

Other alternative spring break trips will have Wilkes students volunteering at El Centro Guanin in the Dominican Republic and at Give Kids the World in Kissimmee, Fla. Students on the Dominican Republic trip will build a home for a young mother and her two children. Those volunteering at Give Kids the World will host children with life threatening illnesses as they enjoy a storybook experience, attending parties, dressing up in costumes and other fun activities.  

Spending spring break doing community service is one example of the many ways Wilkes students are using the week off from classes to expand and enrich their college experience. Other 2020 spring break experiences include:

  • The Wilkes Adventure Education (WAE) program, under the leadership of adventure education coordinator Jill Price is taking students on a trip to the southwest United States. The trip includes camping, hiking and climbing in Arizona and New Mexico. Stops will include the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Ariz. and Santa Fe, N.M., Antelope Canyon and Bandolier Monument National Park. The trip’s itinerary was planned by students based on their interests.
  • A spring break trip to Costa Rica is part of the course “Political Economy and Ecology of Coffee,” being team taught by Andrew Miller, associate professor of political science, and Jeffrey Stratford, associate professor of biology. The trip is part of the course work. This is a service learning trip, where students combine academic study and performing some community service. Students are traveling to San Marcos de Tarrazu to learn about coffee’s role in Costa Rica politics, society and economy. They will visit several small producers as well as a least one large producer. The students also are completing a community service project, painting, cleaning and organizing the community library in the town of Santa Maria. 
  • The Wilkes men’s soccer team will make its first-ever trip overseas to Germany where members will participate some friendly matches and tour famous sites. Stops on the trip will include Neuschwanstein Castle, Zurich, Mount Pilatus and the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. 
  • Students Rose Dietrich and Joshua Hospodar also are traveling to Germany, where they will present findings from a research project they have been working on with Gregory Harms, associate professor of physics. The two students have been assisting harms with researching exploring a link between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. They will present at at joint institutional seminar at the University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany, where Harms is spending his sabbatical
  • Other students are participating in faculty-led trips, including a trip to the United Kingdom led by Wagiha Taylor, professor in the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership. Another faculty-led trip, “History of Psychology in Europe,” will take students to Austria and the United Kingdom under the leadership of psychology professor Robert Bohlander. Paola Bianco, professor, is taking a group of students to Peru, where they will visit historic sites such as Machu Pichu while experiencing the culture of that country. 

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