16 days that will change your life


Shippensburg University United Campus Ministry (UCM) is planning to take its seventh service trip to Vietnam, and it would like to recruit interested individuals.

Though the exact dates of the trip are not permanent, the Rev. Jan Bye, UCM’s adviser, said that the tentative dates are from Dec. 21, 2014, to Jan. 6, 2015. The trip, as in years’ past, will take place over winter break.

Bye said UCM will have a general interest meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 8:30 p.m., at Cora I. Grove Spiritual Center. All interested SU students are invited to attend; they do not need to belong to any specific faith, nor do they have to be regular attendees to UCM events.

The service trip — during which attendees will assist impoverished and underprivileged South Vietnamese citizens — has been a valuable skill-building experience for SU students and alumni who have participated in years’ past. The most recent trip was from Dec. 23, 2013, to Jan. 7, 2014, when 12 SU students, faculty and alumni traveled to Phong Nam, a village near Ben Tre City.

Projects for this year’s trip have not yet been determined, though ideas are welcome, and will be a topic of discussion at the general interest meeting.

During the most recent trip, projects included building, repairing and painting a school building, as well as teaching English in third to fifth-grade classrooms. UCM worked alongside four members of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), who served as Vietnamese translators.

Aside from physical labor and teaching experience, previous attendees have reported learning a great deal about Vietnamese culture and history, especially with regards to Vietnamese-American relations.

Photo by Photo Courtesy of Yen Song / The Slate
Photo by Photo Courtesy of Izzyl Bre / The Slate
Photo by Photo Courtesy of YMCA of Vietnam / The Slate

During a 2013 interview, Bye said she always finds it interesting to see students’ reactions when learning about the diplomatic actions of a nation that was “literally shooting at our own 40 years earlier.”

Bye said this experience is one which has deeply impacted participants in the past, and she would like to see a great deal of interest in the trip, which Bye has called “16 Days That Will Change Your Life.”

Prospective participants who are not able to attend the general interest meeting, and anyone with inquiries, are invited to call Bye at her campus extension, 717-477-1672, or email her at jmbye@ship.edu.

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