Both the Lorenzo de’ Medici (LdM) and AACUPI sessions held on November 15 in Palazzo Vecchio for Florens 2010 were a reminder of just how much the foreign study abroad community does to give back to the city of Florence.
LdM’s lecture focused on empowerment and how this emerging theory can promote cultural heritage as well as personal and social growth; the AACUPI session, Learning Through Experience, highlighted meaningful examples of community involvement by study abroad students.
In that session, Mary Beckinsdale, director of Studio Art Centers International, showed examples of frescoes by students who were commissioned by local hospitals to brighten pediatric and oncology wards as well as waiting rooms and nurses’ offices. Monica Giovannini, director of Richmond College, described a student project that involved with workshops and restaurants on via Santo Spirito to help re-create a sense of community.
Syracuse University Florence students provided testimony of their engagement with the city: Jenece Reyes read a moving story of her volunteer experience with cancer patients at Careggi and Meyer in the company of the famed Milano 25 taxi. Costanza Menchi from Florida State University and Gilda Carina Conte of Rsa-Ra Ist. San Silvestro described the meaningful interactions that have taken place over two years between 150 students and the residents of a retirement community.
Finally, Fairfield University representatives Joanne Maddux, director, and Lisa Friend, academic internship coordinator, discussed the philosophy behind the community service programs at AACUPI member schools. Through the many civic engagement programs offered, students act upon their convictions for the welfare of others and evaluate their own personal growth. Moreover, students, the city, and its residents all benefit in the process. Source www.arttrav.com