Camp Focuses on Cultural Exchange

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

 A new camp sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, which serves Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College, is promoting “Learning Without Borders.”

Twenty-five high school age students from Fairmont State GEAR UP Partnership schools in West Virginia; the Maya Angelou Schools in Washington, D.C.; and schools in Calabria, Italy, are participating in the Michele Norris Cultural Exchange Camp. The three-week camp began June 19 and runs through July 9.

“Cultural exchange opportunities are important to a well-rounded education, and this camp provides an ideal environment for area high school students to participate and to share experiences with students from Italy and Washington, D.C.,” said FSU Interim President Maria Rose.

“It is a pleasure to have these students on our campus and to be able to promote this cultural exchange,” said Pierpont President Doreen Larson.

Each day, the camp schedule includes classes in English and mathematics and activities such as photography and digital media. Trips to Kennywood, Blackwater Falls and a Pittsburgh Pirates game are planned for the weekends.

“Students not only benefit from the classes, trips and activities planned, but also the day-to-day interaction with students of their age from different parts of the world,” said Dr. Tara Brooks, Director of Multicultural Affairs. “Students have the opportunity to interact and learn about each other’s cultures and then reflect upon their experiences in the journals they write each evening.”

The camp is staffed by FSU and Pierpont faculty and students. The student counselors for the camp are Mark Faye, Chris St. Hilaire and Alyssa Oliverio. Staff from Italy are Antonio Morgante, Rosella Morgante and Maria Teresa Aloisio.

“It is great to work with younger generations,” said Faye, who is a senior majoring in Psychology. “They all have such different personalities coming from different cultures.”

St. Hilaire, who is a sophomore and a member of the Fighting Falcons football team, said he has enjoyed hanging out with the campers and talking with them.

“It’s a great new experience which has enabled me to become more responsible and mature,” St. Hilaire said.