Life’s not a beach for some

Stephanie Silverstein

This spring break, some students and faculty at Quinnipiac are avoiding the beaches and are instead volunteering their time to global humanitarian missions.

Two groups of students are going to Barbados, and one other group is headed to Nicaragua.

The trips are being sponsored by the Albert Schweitzer Institute.

Suzanne Hudd, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, is leading the group to Leone, Nicaragua, which will be putting an addition onto a one room school house.

Aside from helping the community, Hudd and her students will be able to observe the culture to expand their knowledge.

“We are looking for a way to incorporate some of what they do in our sociology classes on campus,” Hudd said. “I expect we’ll see that even though there isn’t much money in this area, there will be aspects of their quality of life that will be better than here.”

One of the trips to Barbados is being co-sponsored by the Barbados Shelter for Battered Women and the Albert Schweitzer Institute.

Gregory Garvey, associate professor of computer science and interactive digital design, is leading a group of four students to the Bridgetown, Barbados area to work with women from a domestic violence shelter and provide an educational program helping those women learn how to use computers and teach lessons regarding rudimentary website design.

Garvey and the students will teach basic computer skills that can provide knowledge for employment opportunities.

They will present the opportunity to create personal Web sites that bridge the digital divide and give the residents a web presence.

“[They will be using] the world wide web, one of the major cultural and technological forces of communication across the word,” Garvey said.

The other group going to Barbados is comprised of occupational and physical therapy majors.

Signian McGeary, assistant professor of occupational therapy, is leading the group to Bridgetown, Barbados, to work with the Barbados Council for the Disabled and the Ministry of Public Health in the collaborative initiative of the Community Based Rehabilitation, or CBR.

The group will be sharing their knowledge of rehabilitative principles with the people of Barbados.

McGeary and her students have been preparing for a conference they will be conducting in Barbados, where each student will present to a group of about 100 therapists and caregivers.

The students will be visiting about fifteen different homes that have requested specific information on how to manage family members in need of occupational and physical therapy.

They will be teaching how to do positioning, transfers, and assisting with self care activities.

Group members will also create teaching manuals depicting the best ways to carry out procedures.

“Our students will be integrating and reinforcing the learning they’ve had here at Quinnipiac in their professional programs, but they’ll be enhancing their cultural competency in dealing with work in a new environment,” McGeary said.

McGeary and her students have each packed a separate suitcase with items that will stay in Barbados, including exercise material, toys for children and books.

“It’s our way of trying to give a little bit back for all that we’re receiving,” McGeary said.