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HPU Students Spend Fall Break Volunteering In Guatemala

Posted on November 2, 2009.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 2, 2009 ? Several High Point University students made wise use of their time away from classes during Fall Break ? they volunteered to help others in need by participating in an Alternative Fall Break trip to Guatemala. The voyage was HPU?s first international Alternative Break trip.

A group of eight students, as well as Dr. Kelly Norton, director of Experiential Learning at HPU, members of Oak Ridge United Methodist Church and members of Gate City Rotary Club, visited the Pabeya area of Guatemala Oct. 17-25. There, the group built stoves and installed water purification systems in the huts.

“The Guatemalans typically have open fire pits in their huts, and the open pit combined with the poorly ventilated huts led to a great deal of health problems for the women who do all of the cooking,” explains Katie Mulig, a psychology major at HPU. “Children have also been known to fall into the fire pits ? where they can be severely burned.”

Also, Mulig explains the fire pits require a great deal of maintenance ? not only do they need tending often, but the fires use large amounts of wood, which is starting to cause deforestation problems in the region.

“The stoves we installed are more efficient and ventilated properly, and are safe for children to be around,? Mulig says. ?Also, the water purification systems make the water safe for drinking and cooking.”

The group made lifelong friends at the village, and the participants plan to return to Pabeya next fall.

The trip was funded by the HPU Volunteer Center, Student Government Association and the Hayworth Chapel. The group (HPU, Oak Ridge UMC and Gate City Rotary Club) raised more than $21,000 to cover the cost of the stove, water filters and other building materials.

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 44 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” HPU was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” 2009 listings. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at www.highpoint.edu.

Chris DudleyVice President for Administration336-841-4530cdudley@highpoint.edu

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