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Students prepare for unforgettable journey

On May 17, 11 undergraduate students will travel to Antigua, Guatemala, in collaboration with The God's Child Project, a non-profit organization based in Bismarck, N.D. The students are traveling to Antigua as part of Sociology 379, The NDSU Service Seminar, and have met on a weekly basis for the past semester and have enhanced their understanding of privilege, oppression, poverty and Guatemalan culture.

Instructors Christina Weber and Angela Mathers hope to instill a sense of global citizenry in the students, and believe that experiencing the culture first hand is one of the best ways to deepen students' awareness of their global community. Students participating in the course are permitted to bring only the amount of personal items that will fit into a carryon. Twenty-six pieces of checked luggage will be filled with donated items students and area non-profits have collected.

Some students were unsure of their ability to pack everything needed into a backpack for an 11-day trip, but were eager to embrace the challenge. While in Guatemala, they will build homes, visit a malnutrition center, work at a homeless shelter and distribute clothing to individuals in need.

The service seminar has been offered as an undergraduate class since spring 2008. Students can apply for financial aid to offset the costs of the trip. "I believe that all students, regardless of financial circumstances, should have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the world around them," Mathers said. “Through the service seminar, students are broadening their awareness and embarking on the personal journeys of a lifetime.”

Students are still seeking donation materials to bring with them to Guatemala. Items needed include children's chewable vitamins, children's clothing, sweatshirts in men's size medium or smaller, and blankets. Drop off your donation items at the Volunteer Network in the Memorial Union before May 13.

For more information or if you are interested in participating in next year's course, contact Mathers at angela.m.mathers@ndsu.edu.


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