I feel compelled to write a short blog of my own about the service learning program here in Naples, Italy. This program, initiated by my wife, Dr. Sarah Tenney Sharman several years ago, provides "on the ground" experience for the students. I have had the honor to accompany and volunteer with these student groups a few times.
The program here in Naples deals with the refugee problem and gives the students great insight into this problem globally. There are four graduate students and four undergraduates in the program this year. The students are working with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), dealing with a tremendous influx of asylum seekers, migrants, human trafficking victims, etc. Over 76000 have arrived in Italy this year alone. As you can imagine, this creates tremendous pressure on an already overwhelmed system.
The students are writing their own blog about their experiences, so I will let that speak for itself. My purpose is to tell the Citadel community that it would be very proud of these students and how they have represented the Citadel by diving in and working with these organizations. As one organization leader put it, " these are real soldiers."
This is the vision my wife had when she initiated this program. I think I can say confidently that for the NGOs here, the Citadel is #1 not only among Southern schools in America, but it is also #1 in southern Italy.
- Howard Sharman