Spring Break will soon be upon Yale undergraduate students and, while most will disperse to various beach and home destinations, 60 undergraduate students will fly to Latin and Central America to learn about sustainable development and transplant that awareness upon their return.
Yale Reach Out, founded in fall 2002 by Jocelyn Lippert ’04, will collaborate with The College Council for CARE, a college outgrowth of the international CARE organization founded in February 2002 by Lauren Thompson ’06, on an inaugural, 10-day Spring Break trip to Huaraz, Peru that will raise awareness of sustainable development work.
The conception for the Peru trip can be traced to co-leader Wills Glasspiegel ’05, who proposed the idea for a trip to the region to the Yale Reach Out program. Glasspiegel had previous experience in Peru through participation in a pilot CARE Youth Corps program while in high school. He hopes that the trip, which will cost $1,200, will bridge the perceived cultural divide as well as provide a valuable learning experience for participating students, Glasspiegel said
“Our mission is one of global citizenship and to represent CARE in a way that shows that the people in Peru are not that far away and not that different from us and to give a first hand look at what CARE does,” he said.
The cost of the Peru trip is currently not covered by University funds allocated for summer travel, Glasspiegel said. Programs that relate to service learning and sustainable development deserve similar types of funding, he said.
A committee composed of Reach Out officers and Glasspiegel selected nine students from approximately 50-60 applicants. Of those selected, about 75 percent speak Spanish, a quality that will “make the reintegration experience better,” Glasspiegel said.
While the focus of the trip will be educational, the hope is that it will also enhance the life experiences of involved students, Yale Reach Out President Adam Barth ’07 said.
“We really want to have the educational side of the spring break trip. The point is to give students a taste of development work while still giving them an educational background,” Barth said. “The purpose is to give exposure with the hope that what we give to students will lead to more life experiences in the future.”
Barth said that the Peru trip is running concurrently with Spring Break trips to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Mexico, along with partnership trips to Central America through the Reach Out/Slifka Center Partnership and Nicaragua through the Reach Out/New Haven-Leon Sister City Project Partnership.
Huaraz lies six hours to the north of Lima by car, Glasspiegel said. The students will meet with locals as well as visit ruins at Chavin de Huantar, among the oldest ruins in Peru and relatively unfrequented by tourists, he said.
The College Council for Care played a role in the organizational and planning aspects of the trip by contacting CARE US headquarters in Chicago in addition to holding a workshop for the students on the trip, Thompson said.
“I came in just to give a perspective to make sure they understand the mission of the organization and the greater purpose of the trip,” Thompson said.
Published in the Yale Daily News - By Daniel Katz