Students From Uzbekistan and Ball State Volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank

Photo provided by Ball State UniversityPhoto provided by Ball State University

By Lorell “Landa” Bagley—

MUNCIE, IN—Fifteen college students from Uzbekistan—hosted by Ball State University as part of a new, 21-day exchange program this summer—volunteered alongside Ball State students at Muncie’s Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana on July 3rd.

This was one of several activities which occurred as part of the exchange program, U.S./Uzbekistan Network and International Exchange for Development (UNITED).

During the 21 days (June 15-July 6),  visiting college students and faculty learned and worked alongside Ball State students and faculty in interdisciplinary, cross-cultural student teams. The teams explored careers in government, education, community organization and development, and socially responsible business. Then, they applied classroom knowledge to develop and execute collaborative projects that are impactful.

Students working together at the soup kitchen. Photo provided by Ball State University

“This was an opportunity for all of the students to learn more about the importance of community engagement, and how Ball State supports the Muncie community,” said Dr. Rachel Geesa, associate clinical professor of Educational Leadership at Ball State.

UNITED was developed by Dr. Geesa, and Ball State’s Teachers College faculty Dr. David Roof, associate professor of Educational Studies.

The project was supported by campus and community members involved in the project—including Dr. Susan Luo, International Program Coordinator at Rinker Center for Global Affairs and associate ESL teaching professor at the Intensive English Institute; Kate Elliott, a Ball State lecturer of Journalism; and Reza Paikar, CECL Fellow for Economic Education. UNITED was funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of State. UNITED also involved Ball State faculty traveling to Uzbekistan last Fall to deliver seminars about the project and building relationships between the U.S. and Uzbekistan.

Read more about UNITED in this Ball State news story.

Lorell “Landa” Bagley is a content strategist and writer at Ball State University.