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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Students Plan Alternative Spring Break on South Dakota Indian Reservation


First Row – Sasha Tyler, Tyler Milton, Dennisse Rorie, Paul Gliniewicz, Meaghan Clements, Kathy Giraldon

Second Row – Kimberly Wallace, Jacey Taft, Kathleen Kelleher, Elena Todisco, Lindsey Bacon, Izzy Pulido, Brienn McParland, Janine Bradley

15 students from UMass Boston are going on an alternative spring break trip to Pine Ridge, an indigenous American reservation in South Dakota, on March 16-24, 2013. The students will help to improve the quality of life on the reservation by fixing and rebuilding bunk beds as well as helping with numerous other home improvements.

The students will work alongside RE-MEMBER, an independent, non-profit organization on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The participants will work 12 hours a day. The typical work schedule will be sunrise to sunset.

Izzy Pulido, the trip leader, told The Mass Media that the trip is a unique opportunity to make a direct and positive impact in the world. “We are going to address the [issue] of poverty,” she said.

Pulido, a senior majoring in anthropology, was inspired to visit Pine Ridge after realizing that it is an impoverished and neglected community. “Those people do not have access to basic necessities,” she said. She went on to explain that there is no pipeline in the area, or any other type of infrastructure at all.

“Our number one responsibility in life is to [assist] others,” said Pulido. An important part of the decision to go to Pine Ridge was her belief in aid to areas within the United States. As she put it, “There is need for some humanitarian projects in this country too.”

Kathleen Kelleher, one of the 15 participants, expressed her joy at being part of the team. “I cannot wait. I am excited,” she said. Kelleher is a sophomore majoring in history. She stated that the trip will be an opportunity for her to bridge cultural barriers and to learn more about indigenous American history. Kelleher said she isn’t worried about the number of hours she will work or the potential intense workload she will face. “It will be for a great cause, so I do not mind anything,” she said.

As part of the team’s ongoing efforts to help out the natives in Pine Ridge, Pulido declared that part of the team fundraising will be dedicated to buy gifts for the adults, and twin bed covers for the children. “We will give our all,” she said. Pulido is positive that the UMass Boston students’ work will be influential.