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Students Use Spring Break to Fulfill Service

Belmont students represented the University through service in March when they used their spring breaks to take mission trips across the country.

Mandy Newman (right) screens for diabetes during spring break.

For its annual spring break Immersion trips, University Ministries put eight groups with over 70 students directly into a variety of cultures that included El Paso, New Orleans, New York City and Appalachia. The program seeks to immerse students into the work God is already doing.

The Detroit trip’s student coordinator Diana Rogut said the trip was life changing for her and that serving the homeless population of Detroit was eye opening. Building relationships with the people the team was serving revealed the common misconceptions of homelessness across the nation and beyond that, the truths of the people who are suffering from it.

Rogut spoke about her newly formed relationship with a homeless man named Derrick, noting, “The best part of my trip was getting a Facebook notification… and it said, ‘thanks for the friendship and pray that God moves us in His will so never forget you have friends in the (313) Detroit… know that you’re at home when you’re in the D. Be blessed.’”

Residence Life also participated in a trip to Gulf Port, Miss., to serve a mission that works with poverty stricken families and the homeless population, specifically those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Spending the week doing yard work, sorting donations, cleaning the mission and working in the office, the group was able to assist the mission in many ways.

“With the large volume of stories we hear daily about the problems with the world, it was a great sight to see our students interacting as part of a larger group that still believes in doing the right thing,” said group leader and Residence Director Chris DeLisle.

Belmont’s Pharmacy School as well as Occupational and Physical Therapy Schools took trips to the Guatemala City area in partnership with The Shalom Foundation to serve residents of the communities in many ways. The Pharmacy students provided screenings and general medical care to the residents while the OT/PT groups did assessments for disabled residents and home visits, among other things. Although the groups did not travel together, their service projects worked alongside each other and saw some of the same patients.

Pharmacy student and trip participant Mandy Newman said, “They taught me more about life than I could ever teach them about health. My life is forever changed because of them, and I hope to return next year.”