Students Set Out On Missions with Heart

Students helping to recycle bottles for a kidney disease campaign in El Salvador.

News Story: March 19, 2014

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The hearts of Sacred Heart University students lie in their dedication to community service. During the school’s spring break, student volunteers made a difference in the world by tending to the needs of local, national and international communities. This year, more than 50 students visited poverty-stricken areas of El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Haiti and Mexico as part of the annual service trips sponsored by the Office of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning.

The students volunteered on a variety of projects during the trips. For example, led by student leader Michaela Albano, one group assisted the non-profit Haiti Plunge by helping to build a road in Haiti.

This year, the university also added a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, and there is possibility of continued expansion, said Matthew Kaye, director of the Office of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning. “I am working with a couple of professors to develop service programs in Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic. I look forward to getting these programs off the ground.”

Sacred Heart University partnered with Tecnológico de Costa Rica, a university in Costa Rica, to collaborate with other college students. Nicole Gittleman, who led the Costa Rican delegation, described the experience as “eye opening.  Living with a host family was a perfect way for students to experience the culture,” she said.

In addition to the international service trips, over 90 students participated in the University’s annual Habitat for Humanity spring projects. Students assisted in building homes for low-income families and, in some cases, had the opportunity to meet the families they were helping. Student Life sponsored trips to Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and West Virginia this year.

Senior and student leader Jeff Daley has been on several trips for Habitat for Humanity and believes his college experience is truly enriched by volunteering. “You see the result of your service. We come together as a family and work hard every day to help provide a family with a fresh new start,” he said.

In 2013, Sacred Heart University was recognized on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its exemplary dedication to community service.

If you can't view the photos below, click here.