Worcester, Mass. – A Clark University contingent that includes 11 student-athletes, in conjunction with Seven Hills Global Outreach (SHGO) an organization that supports humanitarian efforts in developing nations through collaborative means have traveled to Loma Linda, Guatemala for a nine-day international service-learning trip that will benefit the village community.
The brainchild of former men’s tennis student-athlete and current graduate student Harris Rollinger (Lexington, Mass.), CAST (Clark Athletics Service Trip) will see its group organize and conduct Sport for Development related activities, engage in cultural sharing and education, team building and work to develop an ecotourism business in Loma Linda.
Along with SHGO, CAST worked closely with Real Futbol Training and the Little Grasshoppers, with those organizations holding soccer equipment drives to give materials for CAST to bring to Loma Linda.
Student-athletes participating in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in addition to Rollinger are: Spencer Brightman (Men’s Tennis, Sudbury, Mass.), Hana Chamoun (Women’s Soccer, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.), Elizabeth Gomes (Women’s Soccer, Arlington, Mass.), Robert Holden (Men’s Lacrosse, Longmeadow, Mass.), Rose Koerner (Women’s Soccer, Ware, Mass.), Dennis O’Brien (Men’s Lacrosse, Medfield, Mass.), Courtney Pharr (Volleyball, Seattle, Wash.), Rachel Spera (Volleyball, North Hollywood, Calif.), Aaron Segura (Men’s Soccer, Wooster, Ohio), Jenna Zarou (Women’s Soccer, Garden City, N.Y.).
“As a department, we couldn’t be more proud of our student-athletes for cultivating this endeavor,” said interim Director of Athletics and Recreation, Trish Cronin. “They took charge and are doing something they truly believe in.”
This service project falls directly in line with the University’s pioneering educational model dubbed, LEEP – Liberal Education and Effective Practice. Students at Clark are encouraged to take part in guidance and mentoring, world and workplace experiences and extracurricular and co-curricular activities – all of which will take place during this trip.
The three representatives from SHGO on the trip also have Clark ties. Jesse Mattleman, the program coordinator, earned her BA from Clark in international development and social change. Program director Ashley Emerson Gilbert earned a pair of degrees from Clark in international development as well, while Dr. David Jordan, SHGO’s President and CEO, is an adjunct professor at Clark and has an advanced degree from the University.
Loma Linda is a rural village that is an agriculturally-based community in which each family cultivates its own land and harvests coffee and other crops to sell. It is a mountainous settling perched in a remote area at the base of an active volcano and surrounded by farmlands on the sides of mountain trails.