For Immediate Release                      Contact:   Deborah Gilleran         or             Tara Strickland
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Georgian Court University Students Make Mission Trip to Guyana

Lakewood, N.J., May 26, 2009—Two students from Georgian Court University will join six students from Mercyhurst College in Erie, P.A., and travel to Guyana from May 26 through June 10. “We chose Guyana because the Sisters of Mercy [Georgian Court University’s sponsoring organization] are active in Guyana,” said Tina Geiger, RSM, director of service learning at Georgian Court University. “It’s a combined service and awareness trip to a developing nation, emphasizing the Mercy core value of service, helping to prepare the students to be global citizens.”

The students will be visiting a Mercy-run boys’ orphanage, remedial elementary school, vo-tech high school, and regular high school for both boys and girls. In these ministries, the children are prepared for jobs and for living on their own.

Junior Jessica Koen of Point Pleasant, one of the GCU undergraduates going on the trip, says she is looking forward to seeing how another culture lives. She adds, “I love children, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to help children who may be in need.”

Besides children-centered ministries, the Sisters of Mercy in Guyana run a hospital and a home for lepers, which the members of the mission trip will be visiting.

“Basically, we’ll be visiting, working, and serving at the orphanage, elementary school, high schools, hospital, and home for lepers,” said Sister Tina. “We’ll also be going into the jungle to visit an Amerindian school to see what needs to be done there.”

Georgian Court University believes so strongly in preparing their students to give back to their communities throughout their lives that they have a service learning requirement for graduation. In order to fulfill this requirement, students serve in the community, whether local or global, and experience firsthand issues that need attention and the effects those issues have on real people.

What are Sister Tina’s hopes for the students who take this trip? “I hope two more folks from the Global North will understand how the Global South lives,” she said. “I hope their lives are changed forever to assist those in Global South.”

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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