Valpo shows commitment to service with spring trips

Spring TripValparaiso University students, faculty and staff will be traveling around the world this spring on a number of service trips.

A team of 29 Valparaiso University nursing and premedical arts students will travel to Costa Rica and Nicaragua during spring break to provide health services to individuals and families in those Central American nations.

The service trip, which is from Feb. 25 to March 10, will be led by Amy Cory, assistant professor of nursing.

Cory says the students will provide health-related services to individuals, families and communities in urban Costa Rica and rural Nicaragua. Team members will visit residents in their homes and work in medical and dental clinics under the supervision of local health care providers, as well as a physician who is a Valpo alumnus.

“Our students will work in health clinics and focus on the assessment, diagnosis and management of disease processes,” Cory said. “During the home visits, students will emphasize health promotion and disease prevention, thus ensuring better long-term health for the society.”

Cory says the mission trip allows her students to engage in experiential learning in an international setting.

“The hands-on work provides our students with a better awareness of how to work with individuals, families and communities of different cultures, while focusing on the implications of the global health care environment,” Cory said. “The work also promotes collegiality among the various pre-professional disciplines, and that can be carried forth into the students' respective careers.”

Students in Valpo’s College of Nursing have been doing significant work to improve health care in Central America in recent years, focused largely around a multi-year project to address health care needs in the rural Nicaraguan village. 

Among other planned service trips:

  • The College of Nursing has organized another spring break trip, led by Dean Janet Brown, to study the health care system in Thailand. The group includes six students, and is part of a course that focuses on the health care needs of the population, current and past trends, and models of nursing.
  • SALT, the Social Action Leadership Team, is sponsoring two trips. One is to New Orleans, where students worked last year rehabilitating houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Then other is to Harvey, Ill., a trip that will focus on outreach to homeless people and those with drug and alcohol addictions.
  • Seventeen Valpo students are among a group from St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Student Center traveling to New Orleans to help with post-Katrina rebuilding efforts.
  • The University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders is preparing for a trip in May to work on a continuing project in Tanzania to repair a canal and improve the overall quality of life for the villagers of Masaera.