From Cambodia to Long Island, students and faculty travel near and far for spring break

Dayna McCoubrey '14 takes notes during a tour of the Madani Halal slaughterhouse in Queens.
Dayna McCoubrey '14 takes notes during a tour of the Madani Halal slaughterhouse in Queens.

Connecticut College students and faculty know how to do spring break right. Some spent the College’s two-week break eating their way through New York to better understand the intersection of food and migration. Others toured Okinawa to witness the lingering effects of World War II and still more spent time volunteering or training for spring athletic seasons.

Here’s a sampling of student and faculty activities during break:


The Big ‘Apple’

Anthropology Professor Jeffrey Cole took his "Food and Migration" seminar students on a five-day excursion through Long Island and New York City. They met with representatives from an organization that provides urban gardening and farming support for immigrants and refugees, visited the headquarters of GrowNYC and toured the Madani Halal slaughterhouse in Queens. Founded by American immigrant Riaz Uddin in 1996, Madani Halal produces meat products following a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The trip was funded by the College’s Traveling, Research and Immersion Program, which supports faculty-led trips to domestic and international destinations that complement specific courses with hands-on experiences.

Bo Clay ’15 snaps a picture of Imran Uddin, owner of Madani Halal (and son of Riaz Uddin), during a tour of the slaughterhouse facility.


War stories

Thirteen students traveled with Professor Takeshi Watanabe to Okinawa to take a firsthand look at the legacy of WWII in modern-day Japan. The group visited the largest American military base in Okinawa, met with United States Consul General Alfred R. Magleby and spoke with local high school and college students. The trip, also part of the College's Traveling, Research and Immersion Program, was funded by a generous grant from the Japan Foundation. 

“The Legacy of WWII in Postwar Japan” students and their professor, Takeshi Watanabe, in front of Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa.


Talking in Taiwan

Professor Tek-wah King’s “Intensive Intermediate Chinese II” students spent 12 days practicing their language skills in the busy metropolitan city of Taipei and in the more tranquil areas of Hualien and Yilan. The 10 students conversed with locals at each stop on the trip, including the National Palace Museum, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the Taipei Zoo and a number of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucius temples. The group also toured university campuses, shopped in markets and stores, hiked along the Taroko Gorge and spent a night in the hot springs town of Jiaoxi. “Through these guided explorations, the students discovered an authentic society in Taiwan’s foreign land,” King said.

Chinese language students enjoy a walk down a street in Taipei. 


Traveling while away

The nine students studying in Hanoi this semester through the College's Study Away Teach Away (SATA) program took advantage of spring break to broaden their exploration of Vietnam, visiting parts of Cambodia, the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). 

SATA Vietnam students and Economics Professor Rolf Jensen visit the temples in northwest Cambodia’s Siem Reap.


Hanging with Mr. (and Mrs.) Clinton

Senior psychology major and Holleran Center scholar Gabrielle Arenge attended the Clinton Global Initiative University meeting March 21-23 at Arizona State University. The annual event, hosted by President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, brings together students, youth organizations, topic experts and celebrities to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Participants are challenged to make a “commitment to action.”Arenge, who won a 2012 Davis Projects for Peace grant to found a community arts organization in the East Africa slum of Kibera and returned last year to conduct independent honors research, committed to mobilizing at-risk youth to build a playground from recycled and local materials for Kibera’s children. The conference, she said, was “a great way to network and connect with like-minded peers who are pursuing similar or unique, innovative and sustainable social ventures.”

Arenge presents her project proposal to fellow meeting participants during a poster session. Arenge was recognized as an "exemplary commitment maker.” 

President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton talk with Jimmy Kimmel during the Clinton Global Initiative University meeting. Photo by Gabrielle Arenge '14. 



Other student groups, clubs and athletic teams traveled to various parts of the country to volunteer, compete and practice. Throughout the break, students tweeted pictures of their endeavors using the hashtag, #WhereMyCamelsAt.

The College’s Habitat for Humanity club spent a week volunteering at a build in Florida.



The men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to Pinehurst, N.C., for a training trip. While there, they volunteered at a food bank.



The figure skating club competed in the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Intercollegiate Competition hosted by the University of Delaware.



The women’s lacrosse team enjoyed a training trip to Florida.



The Conn Chords, an all-female student a cappella group, spent part of the break recording their next album at Trod Nossel Productions and Recording Studio in Wallingford, Conn.




March 31, 2014