The Global Outreach (GO!) program here at Fordham gives students the opportunity to go on cultural immersion and service trips during winter, spring, and summer breaks. The projects are based around the four pillars of community, simple living, social justice, and spirituality. These trips take place in approximately thirty different locations, including both domestic and international destinations. Students have traveled throughout the United States as well as countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Leading up to the project, team members lead different fundraising initiatives to help alleviate costs. Each trip involves partnering with a different organization and supporting them in their efforts.
During my sophomore year spring break, I spent the week with my GO! Waynesburg team helping with Habitat for Humanity in Greene County, PA. Our main focus was a house that was being renovated for a local family. We worked on both the interior and exterior of the home, from painting walls to using power tools on the deck outside. Working alongside this non-profit organization, we really got to learn about its mission of ensuring adequate and affordable housing for everyone. One day we also helped clean up and transport roof shingles from a nearby construction site to the Habitat for Humanity warehouse.
In addition to manual labor, the trip was also an immersion experience. One woman whose house was built by a past Fordham team had us over for dinner one night. It was awesome to see the finished product of a past trip and realize the difference we can make. We were housed at a Methodist church, and the parish welcomed us with open arms. When they found out we were sleeping on the basement floor, they brought us air mattresses to use. One night they came over and hosted a dinner party for us, and they even invited us to a fish fry in the neighborhood. Meeting so many members of the community really made us feel at home in this rural environment, so different from what we are used to at Fordham.
Embracing this different setting, we visited the Lippencott Alpaca Farm and learned all about the animals there. The owners let us pet and feed the alpacas, and they also showed us around their store where they sell sweaters, socks, and other products. We even spent a day in Pittsburgh where we explored the Carnegie Science Center and the surrounding area, enjoying lunch at a local sandwich shop. This excursion really gave our team the opportunity to further bond and reflect on our project. My Global Outreach trip was such an eye opening experience, and I would recommend all Fordham students to do one.