Participants chosen for 2014 Trek to Nicaragua

12 women will be breaking ground on a school in Nicaragua in June 2014.

The Panhellenic Association announced last week the names of the 12 women who will be participating in the 2014 Circle of Sisterhood Trek to Nicaragua.

The women will break ground on a new school in a rural village in Nicaragua, said Julie Drury, the senior coordinator of Greek Life.

Circle of Sisterhood is an organization dedicated to using the knowledge of sorority to support the empowerment and removal of educational barriers for women and girls around the world, according to the Circle of Sisterhood website.

Junior Sarah Trigg, a member of Kappa Delta, was one of the 12 chosen for the Nicaragua Trek.

“The PHA president called me while I was at the library, and I just started crying,” she said. “I was so humbled and so excited to get started,” she said.

Freshman Kelly Richardson, a member of Alpha Chi Omega, was also among the 12 women chosen.

“I just thought that the Trek sounded really cool,” she said. “It’s always something that I’ve been interested in. For a long time, I wanted to be an international affairs major, so I’ve always been interested in this kind of thing.”

Greek women interested in participating in the trip were required to fill out applications and submit them to PHA by Jan. 31. Then, members of a selection committee chose which applicants they believed would make the most significant impact in Nicaragua.

The 12 participants are scheduled to leave for Nicaragua in June.

Junior Jamie Beard, the vice president of public relations for PHA, said she thinks all of the participants will make a wonderful impact in Nicaragua.

“A lot of times in (these) countries, you don’t see the women working alongside the men like this, and we believe that every participant has all of the skills needed for the Trek.”

Over the past year, PHA has hosted fundraisers to help raise money for the Trek to Nicaragua, including a 5k in September and a bake sale last month.

“The school is important for us at Mizzou because it is an element of global service,” Drury said in an email. “The participants will have a direct link to this, but the entire community has supported this cause.”

The National Circle of Sisterhood Foundation sponsored a Trek to Senegal, Africa, in July 2013. The women will be traveling to Africa with buildOn, a service organization focused on breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations. The Global School Construction Program will be the group that helps build the school in Nicaragua, and it will make sure at least 50 percent of the students are female. Trigg said she wants to change the way people view women’s education in Nicaragua.

“A lot of under-developed countries don’t find it important to educate girls, but if you look at the statistics, you’ll see that girls can do so much good with an education,” she said.

“Growing up in America, you always hear about (the stereotype of) starving children in Africa, but seeing (poverty) for the first time is what really makes you understand that not everyone grows up playing Nintendo games, loving parents or private school,” Richardson said.

Beard said opportunity is not universal in this world, and people should strive to provide that opportunity.

“Talent is universal, but opportunity is not, and a big thing about this trip is that we are providing opportunities to women,” she said. “Hopefully, we can spread opportunity elsewhere to make a better world.”

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