The Western Humanities program at the State University of New York at Geneseo is a central part of the curriculum, and all students are required to take the two four-credit classes. Recently, these classes have been broadened to include opportunities to take the classes in study abroad settings—including Rome, Athens, Paris, Vienna, and El Sauce, Nicaragua. While El Sauce might not seem like the most fitting place for a Humanities class upon first glance, Geneseo professor and faculty fellow for international programs Wes Kennison recognized the potential, and the class was opened to students.
The growing interest for the El Sauce classes through Geneseo has led to the increased involvement of students and staff from the college. Among those to become involved is Glenn McClure, an Adjunct lecturer and alumnus (both undergraduate and master’s degrees) of Geneseo. Set to lead the Humanities trip for summer 2014, Glenn is working with Enlace Project to learn about the history, culture, and people of Nicaragua.
Over the college’s winter intercession, Glenn traveled with fifteen service learning students from Geneseo to review the program and begin preparing for his summer course. Among the major benefits of the El Sauce program, Glenn notes, is the valuable cultural exchange that occurs through the host family stays and interaction with community members. He writes:
“Even though this was my first visit, everyone from key community leaders (the major, the priests, institutional leaders, etc.) to kids on the street immediately treated me as a partner and friend, not a stranger. Since I came with Enlace [Project], there was an assumption of trust and common purpose. This made for effective and enjoyable exchanges on current and potential projects.”
Glenn expresses his hope to work to build a strong relationship with El Sauce, both through teaching Humanities and other possible projects. His resume boasts academic, international and community service experiences in countries such as Italy, Ghana, Haiti, and Greece. Additionally, Glenn is a musical composer who has worked both in the United States and other countries to demonstrate how the arts themselves can be service. “Collaborative artistic work offers an additional vehicle for intercultural dialogue and partnership development,” he explains.
As Glenn prepares for the Humanities class this summer, he will be sharing the unique opportunities offered by this program with potential student participants and community partners back home. Enlace Project is thrilled to welcome him to the ever-growing connection between communities in the United States and El Sauce!