BACES prepares for trip to Dominican Republic

Olivia Seecof

Writer

The student-led service organization, Bucknell Advancing Communities, Educating & Serving (BACES), travels to the Dominican Republic each year over Spring Break. This organization is the University’s only fully student-led Spring Break service program, and this year 26 students, which is more than ever before, will be traveling to the capital, Santo Domingo.

“BACES has a unique way of bringing people together, advancing not only the communities we visit in the Dominican Republic, but also the Bucknell community,” said Tom Hackett ’14 and Maggie O’Brien ’14, two students who went on the trip last year and are now student leaders. “By creating lasting friendships built on service and teamwork, we strive to overcome the various social barriers that often divide our campus.”

In the Dominican, the students will take part in medical clinic outreach, deliver food to a very impoverished community and spend time with students at a local school. In order to participate in these parts of the trip, the students work with the greater community through many different fundraising efforts.

“We have a very short amount of time to raise a very large amount of money in order for this trip to happen,” President of BACES Daniela Calcagni ’13 said.

The most recent fundraiser BACES held was a three-on-three basketball tournament and they raised $300. During the Lewisburg Ice Festival, BACES sponsored an a capella concert in which various campus groups performed. Many members of both the University and Lewisburg communities attended. In addition to these fundraisers, there are currently photos on display in the Connections Gallery (attached to the Samek Art Gallery on the third floor of the Elaine Langone Center). These photographs highlight the 2011 BACES trip and they will be on sale for $30 a piece at the end of the exhibit. This exhibit will last until Feb. 26.

Besides monetary fundraising, BACES also holds a continuous toy, clothing and medical supply drive. They are always willing to take donations of any of these items, as the people they serve in the Dominican are in great need of basic essentials. People looking to donate, monetarily or otherwise, are encouraged to contact Calcagni at [email protected]

Members of this year’s trip are anxious to get to the Dominican Republic and spend time with new friends serving an underserved community.

“One of the best parts about being a leader is getting to watch everyone grow together and become best friends over the span of a week,” Internal Vice President Kristen Ronca ’14 said.

The money that BACES is working to raise will make a large and lasting impact in the Dominican Republic.

“Over the past five years I have watched the BACES students spend countless hours organizing, fundraising and toiling to make the lives of people they don’t know just a little bit better and to expose others to the need that exists in our world,” faculty advisor Trace Coats said.

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