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A Life-Changing Experience in Central America

Su casa, in Spanish, means “his/her/their house,” but since 1999 the acronym SU CASA at Susquehanna has meant Susquehanna University Central American Service Adventure. For these many years, friends of Susquehanna have been opening their homes and churches to university students on a two-week, winter break service-learning and mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

You’ll live, work, play and pray with members of local communities. You’ll transcend cultural and language differences and work physically harder than perhaps you ever have side-by-side with Central Americans, pouring cement floors, installing roofs and painting walls in community rooms and orphanages. Or you’ll work with doctors taking life histories and blood pressures of patients. Play soccer, swim and conduct Bible School with children from an orphanage on a volcanic island in Lake Nicaragua.

There’s fun, too, diving underneath a waterfall or soaring on a zip line through the canopy of a tropical rain forest. It all adds up to a life-changing experience that students say is one of the singular highlights of their time at Susquehanna.

The adventure was conceived by former Susquehanna chaplain Mark Wm. Radecke, D.Min. Since 1999, he’s helped lead 12 groups totaling 274 members of the Susquehanna community. They have delivered more than $475,000 in materials and contributed more than 13,700 hours of volunteer service. These are achievements that in 2008 earned SU CASA two national awards from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, including the International Best Practice Award for Student Philanthropy.

Taking children to an amusement park, says one student, “totally made me smile and helped shape my entire trip. I also realized how much Americans have, how fortunate I am and therefore how much I can give up and give back to people who don’t have as much as myself. God is everywhere … especially in Central America.”

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Suhs-kwuh-pee-dee-uh (n): A collection of experiences, topics, and personalities that makes Susquehanna University unique.


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