The PNW Service Spirit is Strong!

January 27, 2020

Twenty intrepid international students in the Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Office of Global Engagement’s English Language Program (ELP) braved the after effects from the season’s first storm: they met as planned at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, November 1, to clean and preserve the beachfront at this region’s unique treasure, Sand Dunes National Park. Through the National Park Service’s Drop-In Volunteer Program, PNW global students reviewed Sand Dunes-related literature in their native languages, updated a Park map identifying the home countries of international visitors, and received branded water bottles as a reward for their soon-to-be-performed service. Then, the ranger-on-duty directed the PNW group to West Beach, which greatly needed—and greatly benefited from—their efforts.

The project allowed PNW students, representing a dozen different countries, to engage their global mindset and do something good for their host community while practicing English with native speakers. The group was led by Jennifer Talley (Director of the English Language Program) and included George F. Kacenga, PhD (Executive Director of Global Engagement), Monika Šmídlová (an observer from the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic), as well as student representatives from Indiana, Florida, and Texas.

After two hours of clean-up, the PNW group had filled twenty bags with litter and debris. Sand Dunes National Park’s West Beach was once again pristine. And the power of the PNW service spirit was again demonstrated: even international students new to PNW are driven to do what’s right, no matter how far from home they are.