For a group of select first-year students, one summer service-learning trip can change the way they view themselves, their communities and those impacted by homelessness around the world.

Each summer, members of the incoming class participate in SU SPLASH (Students Promoting Leadership, Awareness, and Service through Humanitarian efforts), an opportunity coordinated by The David ’69 and Sharon Johnson Center for Civic Engagement.

The project’s journey starts with students spending time throughout SU’s campus and the Selinsgrove area before traveling to other parts of PA. In all locations, students participate in service-learning activities designed to teach them about the realities of poverty and how to tackle humanitarian issues.

During their time in the Susquehanna Valley, students volunteer at local community organizations, such as the Hand Up Foundation in Milton, Pa.

The entire trip revolves around students giving service to humanitarian efforts, as well as starting to develop and grow their understanding on why they do service and how they can continue to learn about the issues surrounding them.

Throughout the trip, current students and past participants, such as Terry Lark ’17, act as peer mentors to the first-year students.

“I went on the trip as an incoming first-year, and it really broadened my horizons and helped calm my nerves about coming to college and finding my place,” said Lark. “You learn things about yourself and others that you couldn’t really begin to comprehend in any other setting.”

“It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s my favorite service opportunity that Susquehanna has to offer, hands down,” said Lark.

SPLASH 2019 runs from Aug. 23-Aug. 28. Then the students help their fellow classmates move in on first day of SU’s Orientation, Aug. 29.

The cost is $50 for students to attend. This includes transportation, meals, housing and other various activities. If there are questions/uncertainty surrounding financial commitment, needs-based scholarships are available.