Time in Jamaica is transformative


“I’ve grown as a leader because I learned that I have to leave things better than when I first saw them.” — Meaghan Rooney

Most people head to Jamaica for rest and relaxation on its sunny beaches and to enjoy the magnificent scenery. The UA students like Meaghan Rooney who spent their 2016 Spring Break in Jamaica had their fair share of fun as well.

But they also had a mission to accomplish — service to others.

Offered through the Institute for Leadership Advancement in the College of Business Administration, the trip was designed to be a transformative experience for these future leaders as they make a difference in the lives of others.

As you’ll see in this video by Joseph Micale, an integrated marketing major who documented the trip via camera and drone, the UA students made a tangible difference during their short time in Jamaica. In Negril, they worked to finish a house for a local woman who had been homeless — painting the structure and installing flooring and siding. At the Pedro Plains Elementary School, a seating area was built near a netball court where the young students also can gather between classes or sit to eat lunch.

“It was a unique experience — I got a lot more out of it than I expected,” says Micale. “Interacting with the kids and the people there shifts your perspective. You go from being a U.S. citizen to becoming a world citizen.”

Student participants were:

Jordan Best, interior design; Lauren Butler, education; Ariana Cupello and Emily Dicks, mechanical engineering; Brandi Floor, international business; Cinara Foor, corporate finance and financial planning; Stephanie Halle, education; Rajvir Kaur, information systems management; Dakota Phillips, history; Holly Reed, speech pathology and audiology; Meaghan Rooney, education and social studies; and Daniel Wyrock, corporate finance and economics.

Serving as trip chaperones were Kevin Smith, director of the Institute for Leadership Advancement, his wife Kelli, and David Payne, a visiting college lecturer in the Department of Marketing.