Written by Nataly Cifuentes ‘16
Last week, Manhattanville students finally got their well-deserved Spring Break. To some students, this became an opportunity to travel and broaden their horizons. As part of an annual tradition, the Duchesne Center for Religion and Social Justice organized a service learning trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. Simultaneously, the Art Department aimed to foster students’ global awareness and appreciation for art, by visiting iconic places in Venice, Italy, all while earning credit on a study abroad trip.
Social responsibility constitutes a big part of Manhattanville’s mission. Throughout their college years, many students participate in various activities within the community to help those in need. For the past seven years, the Duchesne Center has offered the opportunity of working at the Romero Center in Camden, New Jersey as an alternative spring break option. Six students had the opportunity to go there this year and experience a rewarding vacation.
Craig Donnelly, Community Service Coordinator, explained, “Romero Center is a non-stop week-long retreat that gives back to the Camden, New Jersey and Philly community through community service, social justice, prayer and reflection.”
A day in the Romero Center starts off with a prayer, followed by a different volunteer project each day. These projects, which took place in different locations, could entail interacting with the elderly, disabled, homeless, children or others that are part of the Center. After the project, everyone participates in a social justice activity, which is followed by dinner. The day ends with remarks from guest speakers, who discuss matters of religion or social justice, and conclude with a prayer.
Dranisleidi Disla ’16 reflected, “Through the Romero Center trip, I got the opportunity to meet amazing people and create meaningful relationships with them.” Also, referring to the Center’s statement (“So you say you love the poor…Name them.”), Disla said, “I was able to leave knowing that I do love the poor and I sure could name them as well.”
On the other hand, seven students accompanied by a few professors, including Gillian Hannum and Deborah Saleeby-Mulligan, had the chance to travel to Italy and study works of art and architecture in situ.
In addition to extensively touring Venice, the group also visited the islands of Torchello, Murano and Burano. Some of the highlights included excursions to Doge’s Palace, Basilica San Marco, Accademia, Basilica dei Frari, Scuola San Rocco, Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, Teatro Olimpico, Villa Rotonda, Basilica di St. Antonio, Scrovegni Chapel, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Punta della Dogana, Palazzo Grassi and Ca’ Pesaro.
For the educational portion of the outing, each student was asked to choose and research a work of art or architectural structure prior to their visit. Once on site, they would make a presentation on the sculpture, painting or building they had chosen. Students were also required to keep a journal where they documented their experiences throughout Venice.
Rachel Wallach ’16 said, “It was absolutely beautiful and a truly amazing experience to be able to go. The learning experience is something I don’t believe I could have gotten with just any tour group or another school. I really have to thank my professors for being able to take us on this trip and for teaching us so much. I also made a few new friends, so the experience was really great and will be something I always remember and cherish.”
Jesenya De Leon ’16 also shared, “The Art History Department’s trip to Venice was beyond amazing. I am extremely thankful to Professors Hannum & Saleeby-Mulligan for taking us on the trip. Everything we saw was beautiful and we were fortunate enough to have a great weather during our entire stay. I would encourage anyone who can to go on the next trip!”
Check out the pictures from both trips below!
What are your fondest memories of Spring Break, traveling abroad or community service at Manhattanville? Share your stories in the comment section below!