A Reflection on Short-term Service Trips
Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 30, 2016 – The Visceglia Gallery at Caldwell University is presenting “Belize: Beyond the Blue Skies and Clear Waters”, a reflection of short-term service.
This exciting exhibition features photography and written reflections on short-term service trips by Caldwell University students and faculty members. The writing and photography attempt to capture and share the sense of discovery, place and community many may not have the chance to experience.
The exhibition runs from Sept. 15 through Sept. 27. On Saturday, Sept. 24 Senior Sean Puzzo, who has attended Belize service trips, will give a mini- lecture from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Gallery.
Since 2013 Caldwell University has taken small groups of students, faculty, and staff to Belize to serve in the poorest district of Belize, Toledo. The Caldwell group has stayed at St. Peter Claver Parish in Punta Gorda, a small coastal town in the Toledo District. Punta Gorda serves as the “base camp” each year from which the group travels from and to their service sites.
Short-term service experiences offer students the opportunity to experience a new location and community in a way that is different than study abroad. Optimally, students learn about history, culture, economy, the complexity of social issues, and a way of life through firsthand experiences, in either a domestic or international setting. Puzzo, an exhibition co-curator, points out that, “Engaging in short-term service learning trips promotes tolerance and the reduction of stereotypes by working with unfamiliar populations. It also nourishes personal development, self-efficacy, and leadership.” And when successful, the volunteers leave without seeing themselves as heroes, but with enduringly deep connections and an awareness of the need for long-term partnership with the community.
When students volunteer in these communities they forge relationships, learn valuable life lessons as well as practical ones. Prof. Kendall Baker, the Visceglia Gallery director and co-curator, noted, “In ‘Belize: Beyond the Blue Skies and Clear Waters’ the photographs, reflections and ongoing questions celebrate the personal connections, work completed and the ongoing effort to discover and contribute effectively to worlds beyond our personal and national boundaries.”
This exhibition is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.