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Spring breaking in Ireland
Six GSU students to volunteer, work with artists
Bogside Artists in ActionWe
An Irish bogside artist paints a mural in Derry, Northern Irleand. Six Georgia Southern students are heading to Ireland for a working and educational Spring Break. - photo by Special
      Six Georgia Southern University honors students will begin a unique spring break next week when they depart Statesboro for a trip to Northern Ireland. They students will tour, volunteer and spend St. Patrick's Day working alongside some of the country's most notable artists.
      The Georgia Southern students will arrive in Northern Ireland Saturday and will tour Belfast, the North Antrim coast and Dublin. On St. Patrick's Day they will volunteer in Derry, where they will work to repair historically significant murals alongside the famed Bogside Artists.
      Derry was the scene of a 1972 protest that turned violent when protesters were fired on by the British military. The events of that day led to escalated violence in the region and were the inspiration for the U2 song "Sunday, Bloody Sunday." The Bogside Artists have painted a series of murals in the area depicting the scenes of that Sunday and other reminders of that unsettled time.
      "Our students seek out meaningful learning experiences," said Dr. Steven Engel, director of Georgia Southern's Honors Program. "When some college students plan their break around ‘fun in the sun,' this group will have the opportunity to learn, first-hand, about the peace and reconciliation process in a society that has emerged from a period of conflict. These kinds of experiential learning opportunities are a hallmark of the honors experience at Georgia Southern University, where students can see ideas in action and make a difference at the same time."
      This trip is also significant because it will be the first time several of the students have traveled abroad. Allowing students opportunities to study and travel abroad is a key part of Georgia Southern's mission to provide an education that will give graduates the tools they will need to live and work in a global society.
      "This experience embodies the mission of the University Honors program in that it allows students to develop an understanding of the problems that confront humanity and consider how their future careers may lend themselves to crafting solutions to these problems," said Bob Frigo, assistant director of the Honors Program.
      Ashlin Reid of Statesboro is one of the students taking advantage of the trip to Northern Ireland and says it will make for a much more meaningful spring break than she typically experiences. "I didn't want to spend another spring break at the beach when instead I could go to a part of the world I've never seen and at the same time help promote peace," said Reid.
      Other Georgia Southern students traveling on this trip are Mary Elizabeth Cooper of Claxton, Ga., Rachel Rozier of Macon, Ga., Ava Conger and Rachel Anderson of Bainbridge, Ga. and Catherine Ryan of Green Cove Springs, Fla.