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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

Professor seeks applicants for service-learning class

John Galuska, the director of Foster International Living-Learning Center is currently seeking applicants for his seventh interdisciplinary service-learning course in Jamaica. The course is called “Roots, Fruits & Resiliency.”

The course focuses on cultural ecology and sustainable agriculture in Jamaica.  
“I wanted to create a course that provided the cultural perspective and tied that with environmental issues,” Galuska said. 

The trip lasts for two weeks, May 31 to June 14, during which students visit several sites, including the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and the Bowden Ben Farmers’ Association work site.

Though Galuska said he agrees the region is an amazing place, he stresses students are not just tourists.

“It’s not a vacation,” Galuska said. “It’s a real class.”

Along with recreational activities such as hiking and swimming, students attend seminars and workshops taught by community leaders.

“I love Jamaican history and culture,” Galuska said. “It’s one thing to learn about someone’s history, it’s another to meet the people that are the descendants of those people you read about.”

Service projects are also an important component of the trip. Students help on a farm by growing ginger and pineapple, and they also volunteer in different parks in the region such as the Holywell Recreational Area.

“They have a lot of trouble with storms and hurricanes, so we’ve done simple things like picking up trash in the park or small construction projects,” Galuska said. “They aren’t very glamorous jobs, but they don’t have enough park rangers or people to do all the work and the budget is small. Some of the projects we do may be small, but they make a difference.”

Other than a minimum GPA of 2.75, there are no specific requirements for who can take this course. Galuska said applicants are typically students who are interested in food, sustainable farming, park management or just Jamaican culture.

“The students who take the class do an individual project and they are given a chance based on their academic interests,” Galuska said.

Applications for the course are due Feb. 5 and can be requested by emailing Galuska at jgaluska@indiana.edu.

Recent graduate Haley Long went on the trip in 2012. 

“If you go on this trip you’re going to have fun,” Long said. “The hardest part of the trip was leaving.”

Follow reporter Annie Garau on Twitter @agarau6.

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