Chelsea Connell and Robyn Metcalfe saw education, community engagement, and social justice come together during the STU Global Brigades water brigade in Honduras.

The STU chapter of the international student-led movement spent nine days in Los Terrones, Honduras, working with locals to address concerns about access to clean water, and digging trenches and laying pipes for a new system.

“Being able to complete hands-on work in another country alongside community members is a learning experience like no other,” Metcalfe said. “The members of the community we worked in had to walk for miles in order to get clean water and it ran out quickly. In building a clean water system, this community will have access to clean water every day, which will help prevent disease and improve hygiene.”

The group also prepared a presentation for children in the community to discuss clean water usage. They incorporated games and hands-on activities to engage and educate the local youth.

The highlight of the brigade—aside from contributing to construction of the clean water system—was the opportunity to connect with people.

“We spent the entirety of our trip getting to know everyone living in the community. We were able to spend time playing soccer with the children and getting to know the families—their interests, hobbies, and the work they have already completed towards the clean water system,” Metcalfe said.

“Although our chapter was a small part of a much larger project, we were the first brigade to break ground on the implementation of a clean water system in that community,” Connell added. “All of our chapter members felt incredibly lucky to play a small, yet vital, role in the sustainable development of one of the 100 Central American communities.”

Global Brigades at STU

This was the second brigade for the STU chapter of Global Brigades, which launched in the fall of 2016. The group travelled to Panama for its inaugural trip in 2017.

Metcalfe was involved in both brigades—experiences she called “life changing.”

“Through both of these experiences, I was able to create bonds that will never break with community members, Global Brigades staff, and my fellow students,” she said. “I learned about other countries’ history, and I learned about myself.”

Connell has also been a member of STU Global Brigades since the beginning. She said the group complements the university’s focus on social justice and offers another opportunity to put knowledge into action.

“Many STU students are passionate about exploring global citizenship, advocating for sustainable development, and reducing social inequalities, and Global Brigades enables students to explore all of these sectors in ways that are both educational and impactful.”

Interested in joining STU Global Brigades? E-mail stuglobalbrigades@gmail.com for more information.