Spending Spring Break in Service
A select group of SFS-Q students spent spring break helping rebuild homes and learning about international conflict.
Two alternative spring break trips allowed students the opportunity to put their classroom knowledge to practical use.
Through SFS-Q’s Service-Learning Program (SLP), ten students traveled to China as part of an effort to train students in disaster management and to provide relief. The Zones of Conflict, Zones of Peace (ZCZP) program took students to Cyprus to learn about border disputes. While in China, students met with officials from the United Nations Development Programme, China’s Red Cross and government representatives. The students then traveled to Chengdu, the epicenter of a 2008 earthquake, and spent three days working with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes. “The trip brought life to the facts and figures in our books. It is one thing to read about disasters but something else entirely to see the destruction they cause at both individual and collective levels,” said Eilin Francis (F ’13).
Students met in Cyprus with representatives from government, academic and non-governmental organizations in order to gain a multidimensional perspective of the decades-long Cyprus dispute and see how it affects the different parties involved. “We spent most of our time in the divided city of Nicosia, which provided students with views of both sides of the conflict,” explained Eric Lightfoot, ZCZP coordinator. “The best part of the Cyprus trip was being able to get a comprehensive picture of what the conflict was all about by talking to people from all levels of society – from university students to policy makers,” said Dwaa Osman (F ’10). The brainchild of SFS-Q Deans Brendan Hill and John Crist, ZCZP provides students with the basic concepts of conflict resolution and teaches them the role that history and culture plays in fueling disputes. ZCZP students’ courses on conflict management and resolution are followed by a trips like the one to Cyprus.