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Service Learning Group Hits the Ground Running in Puerto Rico

By on March 8, 2016
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Each year Bay State College students and faculty embark on an international service learning trip.  This year the trip has taken them to Puerto Rico during the students' spring break.  The group will be checking in and sending photos throughout the week to let us know what they've been up to! Here's what they have to say about the first days of their adventure. 

Day 1: Criminal Justice Student Katherine Irizarry

On our first day in Puerto Rico, we were taken on a culture, history, and food tour. Covering six different locations, our group indulged in traditional cuisines and embraced the warm Caribbean weather. The food tour in Old San Juan was informative and delicious!  During the food tour, we learned about classic meals, famous Puerto Rican rum and festive celebrations. We also covered some history of the colonization and settlement in Old San Juan throughout the tour.

Puerto Rico was once a main military post and known for its harbor and ports.  We learned about the structures of the infamous walls and watchtowers that enclose Old San Juan for defense. My favorite part of this tour (besides the food, of course) was focusing on the architecture and Spanish and French styled porches throughout Old San Juan. So far, the service-learning trip has been warm and welcoming. I am looking forward to this week’s activities and embracing the island’s culture.

Day 2: Criminal Justice Professor William Morrissette

We spent our first day at the service learning site and it was very well planned and a very rewarding experience.  The staff of the facility was very welcoming and had a number of projects for us.  I worked with some students on a children's playground that had fallen into disrepair.  Because of the tropical climate, the equipment became very dirty such that the children could not use it anymore.  We tackled the project with bleach and elbow grease and had it looking good by the end of the day.  Students also restored an old fountain area by cutting back overgrowth and pulling out plants that were retaining water and breeding insects.  We will be planting new flowers in the fountain today.  The third project was a beautification of the entrance to the facility.  This involved a lot of raking and bagging of trash.  We will be finishing that clean up today and planting flowers.  The weather is not the best today, but we are hoping rains will hold off enough for us to get a full day of work in.