Kelli Smith | October 27, 2017
Sophomore Diane Lee said she had not showered in a week.
Her wrists cramped from spending one morning that week digging a ditch and spreading mulch around an orchard, Lee said, but she made her way across campus eagerly, her anticipation to shower propelling her forward.
“It was a pretty shocking experience,” she said.
Lee, along with about 240 other students, spent fall break in the Appalachia region as part of the Appalachia Seminar, a one-credit-hour course with an immersion experience offered through the Center for Social Concerns (CSC).
Kyle Lantz, assistant program director of Social Concerns Seminars, directs the fall semester programs and said the course introduces students to the complexity of history and current realities in the Appalachian region.
“We look at the current challenges facing the region [and] the vibrancy of the culture utilizing Catholic Social Tradition as a way to approach these communities with humility and openness to learning,” Lantz said in an email. “This seminar is about learning through experience and encounter so the immersion is an essential part of the course. Students take part in direct service as well as conversations and engagement with community members.”
With 20 teams each assigned to a different community in the Appalachia region of the country, Lantz said each immersion program focused on certain themes such as housing repair, education, health, environment, energy, poverty, sustainability or cultural engagement.