President and students prepare for spring break serviceMarch 2, 2013

College students often plan on going to exotic locations during spring break, but not many of them plan on going with their university’s president.

On Saturday, 12 Rockhurst University students, as well as Rockhurst University President, the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, Clyde Wendel, vice chairman of UMB Bank and former vice chairman of Rockhurst University’s board of trustees, and biology professor Mindy Walker, Ph.D., will be boarding a plane headed to Belize as part of the University’s annual service immersion trips.

I go in with a very open mind,” Wendel said.  “I’m very excited about it. It’s a unique opportunity and it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a few years. I wanted to experience this as part of my own faith.”

As the temperature continues to remain frigid in the Midwest, more than 50 Rockhurst University students, faculty and staff members, will be embarking on these national and international service trips to places such as Guatemala, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic . Students will also be participating in service trips to Joplin, Mo. and West Virginia.

“Our presence with one another in another country is integral to our Ignatian enterprise in higher education,” Fr. Curran said. “The world is our home.”

While on site, the students and their companions, alongside the local people, will do a number of different tasks including, helping with water shortages, rebuilding various sites and planting coffee.

 “What the eyes see the heart feels,” said Bill Kriege, assistant director of campus ministry, about the need for the service trips. “There is certainly plenty of poverty and opportunity to serve right in our area, and we do that, but sometimes removing ourselves from the everyday normal can awaken in us something new.”

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