Hands-on service learning benefits to students, faculty and communities

If you want to get your hands dirty, the world is waiting for you, and Lycoming's Warrior Coffee project has a need for almost every talent imaginable.

Warrior Coffee ties together three distinct global communities: Las Lajas cooperative in Costa Rica; El Naranjito, a small village in the Dominican Republic; and Lycoming College.

As part of the broad scope of the Warrior Coffee project, through classes and travel workshops Lycoming students can travel to Las Lajas to see first-hand how a top shelf coffee is sustainably produced, or work in El Naranjito, helping create a viable and environmentally friendly coffee crop while bringing vital improvements to that village's infrastructure.

"In the Dominican Republic and other places, service learning projects are the best way to learn about the country, see the effects of globalization and work hand-in-hand with people to create a better life for them," asserted Caroline Payne, assistant professor of political science. "There are exciting learning experiences available for students."

Stephen Madigosky, distinguished professor of environmental science at Widener University, who works with Las Lajas as part of his Cultivation to Cup initiative, outlined the huge range of academic opportunities. "Whether you want to do research on a consortium of women producing marketable projects, create sustainable packaging or do environmental research, there's a place for that."

Service learning at El Naranjito provides another spectrum of opportunities related to development of impoverished and underserved communities. Microeconomics, engineering and marketing are all needed skills.

Lycoming President Kent Trachte is a firm supporter of the initiative. "The idea of having a coffee you can brand is fun, and that the coffee is grown according to sustainable principles adds to it. What really cinched it for me, though, was the strong service learning component, because this is a high-impact learning experience."

Those interested in participating should contact:
Caroline L. Payne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science,
Lycoming College
700 College Place
Williamsport, PA 17701