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FSU President’s Leadership Circle Inspired After “Frostburg Village” Visit in Uganda
08/12/2015

FSU President’s Leadership Circle Inspired After “Frostburg Village” Visit in Uganda
Sandrine Akindo of Hyattsville, left, and Matthew Riley of Cumberland form mud clumps to build a latrine in a Ugandan village. The two traveled to Uganda as part of Frostburg State University President's Leadership Circle to teach sanitation and hygiene methods in partnership with the Water School.

The volunteerism by Frostburg State University students in Uganda is called inspiring work for a reason.

FSU sent students from the President’s Leadership Circle to Uganda this spring to assist the Water School in educating residents there about hygiene while helping them build the necessary resources. Seniors are selected in their junior year based on numerous outstanding qualifications to be part of PLC. Upon their return, several of the graduating seniors said the service trip helped them find their calling.

“I want to start a women’s empowerment foundation focusing in third world countries,” said Sandrine Akindo of Hyattsville, a Hyattsville resident and native of Cameroon who graduated in May with a double major in sociology and psychology.

The Water School is a nonprofit organization that teaches how to disinfect water using the sun, along with other sanitation practices, to provide people with clean drinking water in Haiti, Kenya and Uganda. FSU has maintained a relationship with the Water School since 2011.

“Every student that has gone to Uganda has had an open mind and a willingness to serve,” said Douglas Baer, director of the Office of Leadership and Experiential Learning.

A part of Frostburg is forever in Africa now. The Water School has nicknamed an area “Frostburg Village” because of the support and supplies FSU students gave to the Pagwaya village and Pagwaya Primary School.

Sara King and Jason Moxley, a 2014 graduate and former PLC member, raised $2,635 to be sent to Pagwaya through an event called Maji Shule, which is Swahili for Water School. The multiday series of activities was sponsored by the College of Business’ Global Business Club.

“Now we have a chance to come back and keep making a difference in that village,” Jacob McDonald of Frederick said.

McDonald, whose political science degree has new meaning, wants to work with the disadvantaged and small communities in the U.S., maybe even as a mayor or state senator.

“It really opens your eyes to everything in the world and how much impact you as an individual can have on other people,” he said.

The smallest gestures meant a great deal to those the students encountered, such as when Akindo showed a little girl how to wash her hands.

“When her cousin came home from school, the first thing she did is she ran over to her cousin to show her hands and pointed to the tippy tap,” said Akindo. “She was just so happy, and it almost brought tears to my eyes.”

Six students from PLC traveled to Uganda this year: Akindo, Jaclyn Franzak, King, Mireille Mbipeh, McDonald and Matthew Riley. All graduated in May.

“Uganda had such a different way they view work, relaxing and time spent together,” said King, an Oakland resident who, because of the trip, now wants to become a health teacher in addition to being a personal trainer. “It made me realize I should live more like Ugandans – they never get stressed out.”

Students travel to rural villages and build tippy taps – a mounted water jug to be used for washing hands – and latrines. These covered latrines are made out of grass, trees and mud built into a hut to provide privacy and improve hygiene. They constructed two latrines, dug a rubbish pit for garbage and installed more than 20 tippy taps at schools and villages.

The educational components focus on basic sanitation; hygiene, such as why food should be prepared with clean hands; and a solar water disinfection process to provide clean water. Thanks to Uganda’s location near the equator, water can be disinfected by exposing a clear plastic bottle filled with water to the sun for six hours.

PLC is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the President through the FSU President’s Experiential Learning Fund. For more information, contact Baer at 301-687-7013.

-end-

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu