The student body of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Enlace Project’s biggest partner in Study Abroad programs, is about to get a whole new look into El Sauce. A student-led initiative is in the process of forming the Enlace Project Geneseo club, which hopes to serve as “an organized connection to Enlace Project for anyone in Geneseo who has an interest in the programs (that they offer).” Additionally, the group will run fundraisers and keep students who have participated in past programs in contact with each other and with El Sauce.
Christopher Pike (known as Topher) is a Senior Business Administration and International Relations double major at Geneseo. Supported by the Frank Vafier Student Ambassadorship Grant, Topher decided to work with Enlace through a project he entitled “Sustainable Non-Profit Management in El Sauce, Nicaragua.” The goals of this project include learning about the operations of Enlace Project and creating “a stronger fundraising and information network between El Sauce and Geneseo.”
Topher originally became involved with Enlace Project through Geneseo’s Humanities II program over the summer of 2012. He explains that he was very impressed with the work that Enlace Project was doing, and believed that the Student Ambassadorship would be a great opportunity for him to apply his skills to Enlace Project’s mission.
During Geneseo’s Humanities II program in the summer of 2013, Topher once again traveled to El Sauce, this time with the mission of learning about Enlace Project’s work and collecting photographs and videos to use in his project. He accompanied Kellan to school openings, worked with Enrique Corrales to learn about the microloan program, and sat in on the weekly staff meetings. Now that he has returned to Geneseo, he hopes to start the Enlace project Geneseo club.
The club, which is currently seeking recognition by the college, has about twenty students involved, and hopes to expand membership to include Geneseo community members. Most of the current members have previously traveled to El Sauce, and are hoping to remain in touch with the community. On October 18th, from 5-8pm on the College Union Patio in Geneseo, the group will be hosting a benefit concert and selling baskets from the Fuente de Pino women’s cooperative.
Topher is also working on compiling an informational video for Enlace project and create advertising materials for future trips.