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New global-learning options for MSMC students

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The seeds for the Mount's partnership with the Foundation for Sustainable Development began back in 2012, when Dr. Lia Roberts took a group of Global Politics students to Ghana on a “Politics and Water Access” trip.

Mount St. Mary’s commitment to providing global experiences for students continues to grow. This spring, the Mount officially became a university partner of The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD). 

Founded in 1995, the FSD supports more than 300 community organizations around the world, envisioning a world where all people have the opportunity and capacity to create sustainable improvements in their lives and communities.

“From a women’s beekeeping business in Kenya to nutritional education for mothers in Nicaragua and cook stove projects in India,” says Kevin Slattery, FSD’s marketing and communications officer, “we listen to community priorities and support local leaders to achieve their vision for a better future.”

What does that mean for the Mount? It means that Athenians now have a new array of international internships and volunteer opportunities available in their pursuit of global learning experiences.

Students will receive course credit for internships through the Global Politics major. And students outside Global Politics will also be able to earn course credit through FSD internships, though they will need to coordinate their work through Lia Roberts, the Mount's faculty contact for the FSD partnership. 

“The relationship came about because my students were increasingly looking for information about international volunteer or intern experiences,” Roberts says, “rather than the more short-term study-away options.”

The seeds for this partnership began back in 2012, when Roberts and fellow professor Laurie Wright Garry took a group of students to Ghana on a “Politics and Water Access” trip. The participant feedback from the Ghana program was overwhelmingly positive, and what students seemed to like most was the idea that they had worked on a project abroad that was designed to help people in underserved communities.  

So Roberts began looking to establish a partnership with an organization that could open up more volunteer and intern positions for MSMC students interested in international humanitarian service.

“We were attracted to the Foundation for Sustainable Development because of their social justice mission and their focus on sustainable relationships,” Roberts says. “My hope is that our partnership can lead to long-term relationships both with underserved communities and with our student leaders.”

And FSD looks forward to receiving new volunteers and interns from Mount St. Mary’s. “As our partner organizations work to meet their goals, they benefit from working with interns who have skills and experience that match their needs,” Slattery says.

The partnership is already creating early successes. Recent Mount St. Mary’s graduate Megan Rodriquez ’14, a political science major, is interning in Nicaragua this summer. And in 2015, Roberts plans to lead a group of students to South America to begin another “Politics and Water Access” project – this time in an indigenous Quechua-speaking community in Bolivia.