Lasell Students Travel to Mexico for 10th Anniversary Service Learning Trip

Lasell Students Travel to Mexico for 10th Anniversary Service Learning Trip

January 05, 2012

Packing suitcases filled to the brim with donated clothing and school supplies, 10 Lasell students recently embarked on the 10th anniversary international service learning trip to Coatepec, Mexico.

The College's Shoulder to Shoulder program began 10 years ago this month as a way for students to earn college credit while experiencing and conducting service learning through field experience in Mexico. The trip is preceded by a course that immerses the students in the history and culture of the region.

"We bring Lasell students to learn about poverty from the perspective of poor people, not from a textbook. While we're there, we hear from the workers, their families, the children, business owners, teachers about their lives and the obstacles they find, as they see them, and the solutions they themselves would propose," said Stephanie Athey, Associate Professor of English and Director of the program.

The students participated in a special anniversary celebration in Coatepec and spent time in Mexico City, exploring archeological sites and museums before beginning hands-on service work. Then students also helped rebuild a structure used by coffee-pickers and cane cutters on communal land used by the families for generations.

"The Lasell student and faculty workers and the resources we contribute help galvanize the community for these 10 days and we build a sturdy cement structure to improve and expand the make-shift shelter that existed before. The work is simply a way to gain access to these local experts and the insight they can give," said Athey.

The students also delivered the 550 pounds of donations and supplies to families in the area.

More information on the program is available on the web.