Friday, Sept. 23, the Elizabethtown College Center for Community and Civic Engagement launched its new Building Bridges program with Lancaster Mennonite School. The program includes international students from Lancaster Mennonite and students from Etown that help them learn about various components, mainly with the prerequisites to attend college.
The Etown students meet once a month with the Lancaster students and work on team building activities to build a relationship with one another. Some of the Lancaster students are from places such as China, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Ghana.
This program is based off of last year’s College Bound program, where Etown students met with high school students. College Bound was partnered with Pennsylviania Migrant Education, but funding was dropped in May 2016.
“[The students] are all very nice and a pleasure to work with,” stated senior Sage Garvey, student assistant to the Civic Engagement Center. Garvey also said that the goal is to build bridges between culture, college and community.
By implementing this program, both schools are connecting to a new culture. International students have gone to another country for their education, and now they are able to partner with Etown students to learn about our culture.
Sophomore Guadalupe Carnero was involved in a similar program when she was in high school, and joined Building Bridges to give back to the community.
“These students get to experience being a college student, but also know how to be an Etown student,” Carnero said.
Sharon Sherick, Civic Engagement Program Coordinator, lists the goals of the program as, “making connections with the community and broadening global awareness, building new relationships, cultural experiences and mutual exchange of knowledge and interests.”
The international students will come to the College next month to help and participate in Into the Streets.
Into the Streets is an opportunity to participate in a community based project that will be held on Oct. 22 this year.
Among many other activities that Building Bridges will meet for, the international students will be shadowing Etown students to their classes. They are also planning to attend the Emotion showcase together.
The group consists of around 10 students from each school and is open to new members of the College community to participate.
The Center for Community and Civic Engagement has other programs, such as the Moving Forward Together program, which instead pairs high school students with a single mentor from Etown.
Building Bridges focuses on the group dynamic from Lancaster Mennonite School and the College to better implicate the culture that these international students are coming to experience.
To participate in the program you need a couple background checks to be able to work with the high school students, but Canero said they were pretty simple to complete.
Anyone interested in the program is welcome to join, and they are encouraged to contact Sharon Sherick, Program Coordinator, Center for Community and Civic Engagement for information. They are also welcome to stop by Nicarry 237-238 to talk to the student assistants about any questions they may have.