One America Comes Home
Intersession—the month-long break between fall and spring college semesters—is a time for many undergraduates to relax and visit with family and friends. However, nine Bay Path College students chose another route. On Jan. 2 they embarked on One America
, a community service road trip providing undergraduates with a wide variety of public service and cultural experiences and exposure to how other Americans live.
The nine-day trek began as the Bay Path students boarded a bus and traveled from Longmeadow, MA to Washington, DC. There, they lent their hands at the Central Kitchen to prepare meals for 15 homeless shelters in the DC area. Their public service continued at Clagett Farm—a ranch owned and operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Maryland, which provides 40 percent of its produce, such as beef and vegetables, to facilities like the Central Kitchen. It was the first time on a farm for many of the students, but they jumped in and got their hands dirty by installing fences to confine cattle, feeding cows, and basically, learning the fundamentals of farm economics. After the day’s work, they carried on their community service with the Maryland Food Bank by packing 5,000 pounds of food in boxes for Maryland families waiting for their food-stamp applications to be processed.
“Helping to feed hundreds by volunteering at the Central Kitchen and The Maryland Food Bank had a profound impact on me and has inspired me to make a difference throughout the year. As a resident assistant at Bay Path, I will commit to finding similar community service opportunities in the Springfield area and continue to help those in need along with the students on my floor. There is no greater feeling than helping those who need it most...and to share that feeling with others hopefully will allow them to understand the significance of being one of the many faces of hope
,” said Jewel Cadet ’09, a New York resident majoring in liberal studies. "You never know how much you have until you hear the heart-wrenching stories of those less fortunate. Only then do we become grateful.”
Throughout their college careers, Bay Path students are encouraged to perform community service in their respective communities, Longmeadow and/or Greater Springfield. Just over a year ago, Bay Path provided students the Alternative Spring Break, a successful, weeklong program of public service activities at social service agencies in Greater Springfield.
“Alternative Spring Break
provided a positive experience for our students. They walked away with meaningful encounters, insight into the important work nonprofits perform every day, and the knowledge that they can make a difference in the world,” said Bay Path Vice President for Planning and Student Development Caron Hobin. “One America
has allowed us to expand this mission by helping those living in other regions of the country.”
Experiencing pieces of U.S. history was another benefit of the One America
trip. The young women toured the national museums of the Smithsonian Institution, where they encountered a reenactment of a 1960s sit-in to desegregate dining. They spent one day learning about African American history at Baltimore’s Reginald F. Lewis Museum, and received personal history lessons at Harper's Ferry in West Virginia and Constitution Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia from Bay Path Assistant Professor of History Robert Surbrug who, along with Bay Path Vice President for Planning and Student Development Caron Hobin, accompanied the students on the journey.
The voyage provided once-in-a-lifetime moments for the students, including a stop in Charlottesville, VA, where they witnessed history-in-the-making as former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe formally announced his candidacy for Governor of Virginia. In Baltimore, the undergraduates were fortunate to encounter world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, a recipient of the 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Dr. Carson, who serves as director of pediatric neurosurgery and co-director of the Craniofacial Center at Johns Hopkins, took time from his schedule to meet exclusively with the One America students to share his story of inspiration and insight for leading a successful life.
The One America students also took in a performance of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company’s 40th Anniversary Tour at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. The trip also included stays at Shalom Place, a ministry of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in DC, and the national historic landmark The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
“On the One America
trip, my eyes were really opened to the inequalities in America. The large gap in the standard of living between America’s richest and poorest citizens is way too big, and seeing it made me realize that in my adult life, I want to help change America,” said Molly Dower ‘11, an accounting major from Troy, NH. “In Virginia, we saw Terry McAuliffe on his Governor of Virginia campaign trail, and he discussed the importance of education to keep people out of trouble; and how money is well spent on education because it improves people's lives. This trip was not the standard lecture and book style of learning, but it was a great lesson. The message I’ve taken from this trip will help me in my life because it’s about making a difference in the lives of others.”
The participating students, seven of whom are first-generation college students, were required to raise $100 each. Approximately 50 percent of this trip was underwritten with funding from a member of the Bay Path College Board of Trustees and the Wal-Mart College Success Awards program. The Wal-Mart College Success Awards program is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and is made possible by a generous grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation. About Bay Path College
Bay Path is a four-year private college with an enrollment of more than 1,600 students at its Longmeadow campus and satellite campuses in Sturbridge/Charlton (MA) and Burlington (MA). The College offers undergraduate degrees for women; graduate degrees for men and women; and Bay Path Online, the College’s online center offering graduate degrees and certificates. About The Council of Independent Colleges
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 580 independent, liberal arts colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education, and enhance private higher education’s contributions to society. To fulfill this mission, CIC provides its members with skills, tools, and knowledge that address aspects of leadership, financial management and performance, academic quality, and institutional visibility. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.cic.edu/
. About the Wal-Mart Foundation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Wal-Mart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Wal-Mart Foundation supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in education, job skills training, sustainability and health. In 2007, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $296 million to communities across the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org