Monday, September 18, 2017

September 12th

I was reunited with my friend Michelle. I first met Michelle in 2012 when her Irish Football club came over to New York from Mayo to play us in a challenge match. We knew from that day that the friendship would last a lifetime. The last time I saw her was my visit to Ireland in 2013. It was so nice to see her after a few years. She is also an education major. I am extremely close with my Education friends back at Manhattan College and miss them dearly. It was awesome to have someone to chat with about our major.

September 13th
All visiting students in Ireland have to report to Immigration with paperwork and pay a fee. Today was my appointment to do so. I was extremely nervous about this meeting. Not that I did something wrong, I was just afraid that I would forget a paper or something like that. Everything went smoothly. The immigration guard was extremely friendly and we discussed how much Uncle Mike is coming over to play with the NYPD against the Galway Guards in October.

September 14th
After our classes, Bridget and I traveled down to County Cork for two nights to meet her aunt and uncle.

September 15th
Bridget and I spent the day walking around Cork City. I hadn't visited there since 2004 when I came with my mom and grandfather. Cork is a beautiful city. It is very different to Galway. It is much larger and less traditional (in my opinion) than Galway. We browsed through stores, included the English Market which reminded me of Arthur Avenue. We had dinner with Bridget's aunt and uncle. It was great to see them and spend the day with them. I would love to visit County Cork again while I am here.

September 16th
We took a 8 AM train into Dublin. This was our first time on the train while we were here and we both really enjoyed it. The ride was very scenic and comfortable. When we arrived in Dublin, our dear friend Margaret met us at the train station. Margaret and I decided that we were going to go to breakfast at this cafe named Gerry's on Harcourt Street that we went to last year when we were in Dublin. My family was very jealous when I sent them a picture of my breakfast because it was one of their favorites from our last trip. We spent the wet Irish day walking around Dublin and met up with our friends who are studying there. Later that evening, Margaret, Bridget, and I got dinner with my cousins Gabrielle and Conor. I was over the moon. They are two of my favorite people. After dinner, we went to the Croke Park Hotel. Our awesome friends Margaret and Clare were able to get me a ticket to the All-Ireland game. This has always been one of my dreams and it was finally coming true. We met them at the hotel and had some great laughs together, as well as some dancing and singing. 
September 17th
Today is a day I will never ever forget. The atmosphere in Croke Park for the Mayo-Dublin All- Ireland was something I never experienced before. I honestly can't even put into words. Although the team I wanted to win fell short, it was the best game of Irish Football I've watched. 80,000 fans filled the stands with hundreds of thousands of fans for both teams gathered throughout Dublin. This is top ten one of the best days of my life. I truly am one lucky girl.

September 18th
We traveled back to Galway in time to make our classes. The weather was beautiful. This time abroad is really helping me to reflect on many things. After class, I attended mass at the Galway Cathedral. After mass, I found a nice little spot on the water to sit and listen to some music. This was just what I needed after a crazy weekend. My housemates and I all ate dinner together and played some games. It felt great to come back to Galway. I actually missed it over the weekend.

Monday, September 11, 2017


September 3rd
I started off the day by going to mass at Galway Cathedral. I loved it. The priest added a beautiful touch to the Prayer of the Faithful by praying for the students who are studying in Galway this year. It may me feel even more comfortable now knowing I have a church to attend mass and stop into to say a prayer. Bridget and I were extremely lucky to be in Galway as their hurling team won the All-Ireland. We watched the game. Bridget and I watched the game amongst the die-hard Galway GAA fans in Eyre Square, which would be the town center. This victory created an amazing atmosphere throughout the city. Fans were cheering, music was playing, and horns were honking.

September 4th
At orientation on Thursday and Friday, the administrators explained that we could find our timetables online for the courses we wanted to take and hope that none of them conflict. Before coming to NUIG, I had to get my courses above at Manhattan College so I really didn't have the option of taking any other courses. Luckily, none of my courses overlapped, but I ran around campus on the first day of classes like a chicken without its head on. I had no clue where to go on the HUGE campus. Thank goodness at the end of the long day I had my schedule and was on the right track. After rather a stressful day, Bridget and I ventured over to the "Welcome Home" party for the Galway Hurling team. It was absolutely amazing. It seemed as if everyone from Galway was packed into this sports arena. The players and management thanked the cheering crowd for their constant support and love. I am so glad I got to share this moment with the people of Galway. 

September 5th
The day began with classes. NUIG campus is much larger than the Manhattan College, which made it quite difficult to navigate and find my classes. The classes also consist of around 150 students. It is much different but it is nice to have a change like this for a short while. Today was Clubs and Societies day. I joined Best Buddy, Politics Club,  Cancer Society, ALIVE volunteering, and Catholic Society. I also signed up for the Gaelic Football team. I can't wait to go to these meetings and start training for Gaelic football. It will be a great may to meet new people. That evening Bridget and I went to the outdoor cinema on campus. This was very relaxing after a crazy few days. 

September 6th
I had a full day of classes today. I started at 11 and finished at 6. I'm really enjoying my classes and the curriculum I have in store for this semester. I am taking two English classes, a biogeography class, a Celtic Catholic studies class, and a Sociology class. After my four classes, we had a nice dinner with our housemates. They are all extremely sweet. Two are from Ireland and one from English. It is very different living with boys, but we like it so far (besides the messy kitchen).

September 7th
Today, I spent the day getting familiar with the different stores around where we are living. The shopping center has many  similar shops to what we have at home. It is good to know this incase I need something in an emergency. We welcome the Irish weather with lots of rain today. After walking around, we went home to watch a movie, have dinner, and prepare for the exciting day we had in store for us tomorrow.

September 8th
Bridget and I took a bus tourist trip to visit Kylemore Abbey, Cong, and Connemara. It was an amazing day. Homesickness began to creep up on Bridget during the week, but the great day we had really helped her to feel comfortable with all the change we were encountering. Kylemore Abbey is an monastery with a great deal of history with beautiful grounds. Cong is the village where the film The Quiet Man took place. This film is my Grandpa's favorite which we have watched together every St. Patrick's Day since I was a young girl. It was amazing to see the movie come to life being there. Connemara is a gorgeous town where Irish is the language spoken. When we returned from the trip, friends of ours from back in New York came to visit us for the night. They are doing a study abroad program through Iona College in which they study for 5 weeks in Dublin, Barcelona, and Rome. Seeing them was awesome. This also helped any bit of homesickness we felt. We plan on visiting them as they travel around Europe.

September 9th
We began the morning touring around Galway with our friends from home and had a nice brunch before they left us to return to Dublin. We are spending the upcoming weekend with them in Dublin. After they left, we traveled to Mayo to celebrate my cousin Rory's 21st birthday. It was incredible to see how happy this made my grandma. Leaving Ireland at the age of 11, she never spent any more holidays or birthdays with her family there. Now, her granddaughter was there to celebrate the birthday of one of our cousins. Seeing how excited she got on FaceTime when she looked at the picture of my cousin Rory and I.                                                    

September 10th
I woke up very homesick this morning. Instead of taking the bus from Mayo to Galway, I would have rather be going back to NYC. As I do know this is an amazing experience for my independence and maturity, I am extremely lucky to have family in Ireland and  plenty of family and friends coming to visit while I am here. I truly admire anyone who lives home to go to a foreign place with no connection. When we returned to Galway, Bridget and I stopped for coffee and she bought some decorations for our room. Later that day, we went to Mass and had a very nice dinner. We ended the night by watching a movie and having a "spa night".

September 11th
This was my first 9/11 not spent in NYC and it was a very different. I'm used to seeing American flags displayed, watching the memorial, and discussing in class where we were when the earth stood still. Here everyone is going about their day like it is any other day, which it is for them. Today, my heart is with my amazing city. I went to Mass tonight to pray for all of those effected by this day.


August 29th
We arrived into Shannon at around 6 AM. After going through customs, I sat down for breakfast with my best friend Bridget, who I get to share this amazing experience with. We hung around the airport until the last person in the group arrived. The ISA group we are apart of consist of a extremely nice bunch of students from all of over the United States. It was shocking to me that this was all of their first time in Ireland. I found that to be extremely brave coming a place you've never been before by yourself for the next four months. I admire them for that. Tuesday was a very long day, especially because we didn't get any sleep on the plane ride over. The group arrived to our housing complex at around 12:30 PM. We received our keys to our houses and were able to drop our bags and then right on the move again. Our house is different than we are used to in college dorms in America. It is three floors. On the first floor is a kitchen and sitting area. Our bedroom is on the next floor with a bathroom and another housemate' s room. The next floor is the same lay out. We only have one housemate moved in so far. He is a boy, which is different for us having lived with all girls at Manhattan College. He is very sweet and is a second year student at NUI Galway. After seeing our house and dropping our luggage, we went on a tour of the school. The campus is beautiful and HUGE. Coming from MC, we are used to everything being so close. Trying to find all of our classes should be interesting for the first few days. After that, we did a tour of the city and I fell in love with it. Shoppe Street, which would be the town center, is filled with cute stores, live music, and smiling faces. After our tour around the city, we walked back toward the housing and shopped for the essentials we needed. Bridget and I misjudged how much we bought and had a quite interesting journey back to the apartment with bags filled with groceries and bedding. While it was tough, we laughed about it the whole time.

August 30th
After a long day of traveling, we were able to sleep in late on Wednesday. We spent the day making our way around town and going into all the little shops. We found a place that sells iced coffee, which we were nervous about missing coming to Ireland without Dunkin Donuts. The day before our group leader told us that Salthill Beach was on right up the road, so we decided to take the walk because the weather was very nice. It was absolutely gorgeous. We had dinner on the strip of the beach. When I put in my phone the address to go back to our apartment to our surprise it was an hour and a half walk... but we did it!

August 31st

Reality set in that we weren't just here to admire the beautiful city of Galway. We started our day off with orientation. I was shocked that 22% of NUIG students are international. In the evening, we went to dinner with the ISA group. The food was delicious!

September 1st
The morning began with another day of orientation. I received my student ID and we were informed on how we register for our classes. After orientation, I went on my own to run a couple of errands. It really set in that I was here at that point. In the afternoon, we traveled to County Mayo to spend the night with my cousins. It was amazing to see them. My Cousin Kathleen always takes the best of care of me when I am at her house. Her house feels like home to me. We had a great night together.

September 2nd
We traveled back to Galway this morning. It is great to know I have family just a bus ride away. The rain has arrived after a few gorgeous days. When we arrived back, I spent the evening FaceTiming my family and friends back home and tell them how everything is going. I have talked to all of them everyday throughout the day, but this time I actually was able to have a full conversation. I was able to organize all my things and really settle in now.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Italy - Rome day 2

So I finally made it to Rome. It only took months of planning, a summer full of stress and worry, multiple visa fiascos and a 9 hour overnight flight. It's day 2 and I finally got out to really explore the city. Yesterday my jet lag was so bad I didn't even want to go outside to get a gelato! But I mustered up the strength and already had one by 2 pm today. Here I picture my beautiful hand and gelato within the Trastevere region of Rome, which is where I am located in my 'external housing' at John Cabot University. 

The housing here is quite different then at home, when I am in Pennsylvania there is a limit on how many girls can live together or it is considered a brothel. Here it must be no problem because I am living with 7 other girls in a 4 bedroom apartment!

Today was day 2, and we had to do an 'orientation activity' to get us used to the Roman life. So we got to go for a 5 mile stroll through the city during the hot mid day. It was a balmy 90 degrees with little wind. It was all worth it though as we got to really see the city and experience the city. 
Pictured above is where Mussolini used to reside when he was the ruler of Italy. It also shows, if you squint really hard, the balcony, near the flags, where he used to give his speeches to the public. I thought that was pretty cool to see when just casually touring my new home. 

Things only got cooler when my orientation leader, who are called skippers here, took us to this cite. While it is now a sanctuary for homeless cats it was once the place where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death 27 times. 

All of a sudden after casually walking past the Roman Forum this big building appeared in the skyline and my roommate and I lost it. We both went into shock when we realized just how close we lived to this monument. If you don't know it or don't recognize it please save yourself the embarrassment and just google "most famous roman monuments." It's at the top of the list and conveniently located minutes from my apartment. 
So far, I love Rome and while it was a really hard decision to enroll in a new school, in a foreign country where I don't speak a single word- I have now learned ciao- with not a single person I know, I do not regret it.
My only regret is that all of my friends from school couldn't come with me. Although I do wish that they will go next semester so that they too can experience something so out of the ordinary, for us as Americans. Also it would be nice if they did so I could have a cool spring break destination! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Prepping for Italy

In a little over three weeks I will be voyaging out of the United States be entering into Italy. I will be studying abroad for a full semester at John Cabot University, located in Rome. This school is not affiliated with our own Manhattan College and thus I will be going alone. I know no one there and I know not a lick of Italian. Follow my blog posts as I, assumedly, get lost, eat a lot and start to become one with the Italian lifestyle.
P.S. If anyone has any tips on where to go or what to see PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!! It will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bimini, Bahamas

In Bimini, Jaspers are learning about sensation and perception systems in the classroom as well as the behavior and communication of dolphins.

On board the Renegade, students keep their eyes peeled for dolphins that they may join in the water to observe and photograph in order to apply their knowledge and assist in ongoing research that has been taking place in Bimini since 2003!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Journey through Madre di Dios

This post was written about a School of Business course on sustainable economic development in the Madre Di Dios region of Peru

Our group from Manhattan College– day seven of our trip and still in awe from their trip to breathtaking Machu Picchu and the sacred valley of Peru ventured onto their next journey, four days in Madre di Dios – translated as Mother of God – located in the outskirts of the Amazon rain forest. Seven MBA students, eleven undergraduates, our two amazing professors (Dr. Arora and Dr. Predmore; along with Dr. Predmore’s husband, as well as my husband and our dos ninas (2 daughters) who would join together to explore a land and people that nothing could have prepared us for.  
This was where the tourism stopped and research intensified for my fellow MBA students. We would conduct a pilot scoping study to identify the economic benefits of conservation related activities for stakeholders in the Madre de Dios region.  Our mission – to identify opportunities to provide livelihood sustainability with low barriers to entry while still maintaining the cultures of the people and preserving the beauty of their land and environment.  
As we doused ourselves in large quantities of DEET bug spray and ventured into this new foreign land, we were not sure what to expect as our imaginations ran wild.  Collectively we were diverse — some of us have never been out of the country, I myself have been to 77 countries, but this area and its people were unlike anything any of us had ever seen. The area our hotel was located in was more city than anticipated with sidewalks, storefronts, and traffic lights (that only occasionally worked).  Zooming and honking as we darted across the bustling streets were tuk tuks (local taxis) and motos filled with families (sometimes as large as four, and the occasional puppy).   Interwoven amongst the city landscapes in a rare and beautiful juxtaposition were flora and fauna influences trickling in from the “jungle” — better known as the Amazon Rain Forest — and friendly and lazy cats and dogs having a siesta amongst the city’s noise.
While few members of our group spoke fluent or intermediate Spanish, many did not — but were able to get by with a kind smile from the extremely friendly locals who mostly spoke Spanish, Portuguese, or a native dialect. We wondered if this would impact the ability for the locals to trust us and open up to us during our upcoming interview process, site visits and tours. Would they feel intimidated by a room/bus filled with strangers to their community and land who did not share a common language? We hoped they would see our true intentions, to learn from them, and help in any way we could.
We had spent the weeks prior conducting research to understand the dynamics of the local forest related activities in Madre de Dios. Our efforts were to understand the incentives motivations, and economic livelihoods the people currently, or in in the future can engage in.   Our time here would consist of putting our internet research to the test with reality by meeting the people of Aqua Fish Farmers, Brazil Nut “Castanas”, eco-tourism, agro-forestry and bio commerce.
Our research and theories were extensive, and time limited.  We had a mere three days, a few short hours, and a language barrier. We hoped our questions would not get lost in translation. Our goals were lofty, but what would their answers be, we could only venture to guess as we eagerly anticipated each interview, and tour.  Each went beyond our expectations with a warm welcome and willingness to show us every aspect of their livelihoods and some even welcomed us to their homes, and prepared us meals.
We sought to understand how and why local stakeholders depend on and benefit from intact forests, and what it meant to them not only professionally — but personally, and culturally.  Using data from the case study and a workshop with representatives of the stakeholders in the area, we would further explore the incentives and motivations to engage in various economic activities and provide an executive summary to help provide observations and perspective from our findings.
We commuted two hours far from the “city” to a remote village in the jungle along with Dr. Josh Fisher and Michelle Leppert of AC4, Columbia University, and two advisors from the La Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazonica — an NGO who works closely with many of the people we met.
During our time at the fish farms we learned they often had multiple jobs (usually substantive farming of local produce such as pineapples, bananas, and cacao etc.). Many had 2-5 ponds, but they were working their way to having 10 or more ponds. This achievement would create for them a sustainable livelihood.
They explained their hard work and efforts were so they could afford to take care of their families and purchase school supplies for their children’s education (even with two jobs they were not always able to unfortunately).  It was in that moment many of us felt compelled to have a fundraiser to send them some school supplies while they furthered their efforts.  Just as our College is founded in the principals of La Salle, the patron saint of teachers who found himself called to serve the poor and disadvantaged, specifically children, whose lack of access to education was perpetuating poverty.   We too hoped we can assist stakeholders in the region identify short and long term livelihood solutions.

The aqua fish farmers discussed their desire to afford refrigerated trucks to be able to export their fish to further points across Peru and beyond. There was pride in their eyes as they discussed their ponds, and hope in their future. At one point they broke out in laughter, to some words I could not quite decipher. It turns out it was a marriage proposal, and the older lady offered to cook a feast…we all shared a good laugh with our new found friends. They were warm and kind, and it was an honor to be invited to their homes to see their work in person.
On the way to their village we took a small bus two hours in each direction. The towns were humble, and it was an interesting comparison to see the deforestation, and growing rise of mining, and litter which was rapidly expanding side by side to the very land the people we met with considered sacred and were trying so desperately to preserve for their families and future generations.
They walked us through their towns, welcoming us with their entire families and some even preparing a feast of the local fish they grow — Paco, freshly picked Yucca, and juice — all muy delicioso (very delicious!). As we drove home for two hours in the darkness of the forest under the night sky of a thousand glistening stars, my mind wandered to our final goodbye — I will never forget the faces of their families, standing from the various communities sending us off with hugs and kisses, asking us not to forget about them. I know none of us ever will.
There is a huge opportunity in Aqua Fish Farming- 1 Hectare of Forest Land can yield 500 kilos of meat, but 1 hectare of fish ponds can yield as many as 8,000 kilos of fish!  The following day we were able to meet IIAP Institution of Investigation of Amazonian Peru, (in partnership with Wake Forest University, and a University in Rio De Jairo Brazil) who leverages technology and research to perfect the conditions, costs and benefits for the Aqua fish farmers of Peru.  At their facility, they conducted research to 1) reduce the cost of fish meal while increasing the quality, 2) increase life expectancy of fish through finding ideal pond conditions and fending off predators, and 3) test toxins and mercury in the environment, waters, fish and people which is extremely critical and will provide great help for locals in their efforts.   They added it would be extremely helpful if researchers like us can help with knowledge and support.
We also had the great pleasure of witnessing one of the other local treasures — the Brazil Nuts, or Castañas.  We walked through the entire supply chain — seeing the tall ancient 300-year-old trees they were harvested from when the pods fall like fruit from the heavens.  The harvesters spend three months collecting them and then carry them to facilities via river, motorcycle or vehicle. The most popular method being the waters of Madre di Dios.  IIAP is also conducting first ever research to take rapidly growing seedlings and graph them on to aging trees.  With their help, these trees can then go from producing half a sack of brazil nuts to becoming “high producers” of up to two sacks – 4 times more than average!  As my career for the past 12 years has been in technology, I love seeing the merging of tech and environment to better the community.

Subsequently, we visited a facility which showed the process of drying, pressurizing and deshelling them.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear 85% of the workers were single mothers who they employed and gave flexible hours so they can have a steady salary and flexibility to support their families.  As a mother of two girls (aged 3 and 1) I was most excited to hear that sort of support of women and mothers in need- providing them not only income but work life balance and integration, as well as a critical focus on the importance of family.

Many of the castaña workers, regardless of the part of the cycle they were involved in, also had to supplement their income with additional incomes such as farming etc. to supplement their livelihoods and support their families.  Every restaurant we visited had some incorporation of castañas, from Castaña Salsa (Brazilian Nut Sauce) on their dishes, tasty additions in their chocolates bars, even as a flavor of ice cream! They had so much pride in their national products, and made sure to incorporate every element into their daily lives.

The President of the shelling facility and member associations expressed many of the members of the Brazil Nut Association(s) desire to also grow their supply chain and gain various types of certifications- fair trade, green, organic, and a newer concept reflecting where exactly the product was grown and a QR code; conceptually so you can actually come and meet the person who grew/harvested your product and see the process as we did, in a modern form of bio- commerce meets eco-tourism.
Eco-tourism is one of the most trending discussions for potential income discussed by local Peruvians.  After our analysis, we determined it would only be sustainable if it was not solely dependent on other countries disposable income, but rather combined with some of the aforementioned more sustainable livelihoods.  The long term goal of ideal eco-tourism in Peru was to bring elements of the primary forest out to other locations so people can visit, learn, and appreciate its beauty and importance.
We did find the ideal version of this when we visited a local named Victor – owner of Fundo Refugi K’erenda Homet- a conservation forest he created to replicate the Amazon rainforest originated in 1986 and most recently awarded by National Geographic.  Raised alongside local indigenous tribes he dreamed of being surrounded by the flora, fauna and animals of the rainforest and created this tropical paradise through the work of his own hands.  He purchased a deforested 40-hectare pasture which did not have one tree left, and got to work.  Over 30 years, his hard work has resulted in 20,000 trees.  In the last 7 years he introduced 4,000 types of flowers and plants, which is simply astounding.  Each year he educates 800- 1000 students to come learn about the true value of the environment and promote the education for future generations.  We left with our mind filled with information and hearts filled with wonder and thanks.
We learned Peru is one of the world’s 17 mega diverse countries, and thus bio-commerce is therefore extremely important.   Foods made by the locals from Madre di Dios (from castañas to Amazonian Fruits, Infused drinks, Medicinal Juices and more…).  There are seven principals of bio commerce:
1. Conservation of Bio Diversity
2. Sustainable use of Bio Diversity
3. Equitable Distribution of Resources
4. Economic Sustainability
5. Fulfillment of International Laws
6. Respect of Rights
7. Clarity of Land Ownership
Of which, there are three principal areas of focus 1) Adaption- realizing any action or change creates a “butterfly effect” of changing everything else, and you will need to adapt.  2) Creation of Value, not just economic but keeping track of every step of the supply chain and creating fair trade and living wages 3) Cognizant of environmental impact- that every action you take affects: flora, fauna and humanity.
Peru, Columbia, and Ecuador have taken part in bio-commerce since 2004, and since then 64 organizations have moved towards bio-commerce.  The idea is to arrive at a point where more organizations know about and strive to fill out these principals.  Through doing so, they hope to promote buyer and seller knowing each other so the buyer knows the impact of price for the seller, and are transparent with each other.  Some interesting concepts that still have some complexity include placing monetary value on what many would consider priceless ancestral knowledge.  Another complication is clarity of land ownership, which we learned is not always so clear cut.  Nevertheless, through this practice the community can better know the eco system, practice agro forestry and provide a sustainable use of natural resources.  We did our part by purchasing and taste testing all of the local products from ice cream to chocolate (a tough job, but somebody had to do it).
The undergrads may have had some thrilling experiences with Canopy Tours amongst the tree tops of the Amazon Rain Forest, but we MBA’s spent our time marveled on the ground researching the amazing people of Peru, and what better way to learn? Our Field work allowed our Jasper MBA team to research and gain firsthand experience and knowledge about the people, events, and processes that we have been studying. No other method offers quite the same kind of close-up lens on everyday life, it’s complexities and its intricacies.
At the end of the trip we discovered that although there were clear differences between us- language, livelihoods, socio economic differences… we were more alike than we were different.  They were part of a family, and a community which they loved, and they did their very best to provide a better life for the generation which came after them. Although they had so little, they gave so much — and we could learn from them in this way.  Their spirit of welcome, kindness, and gratitude was beyond measure and as I looked into the eyes of each of the warm people and the sweet children I knew without a doubt this was more than a class—this was a chance to help a group of people, a chance to make a difference in their lives and I and each of my classmates are so thankful for the opportunity to learn from them and hopefully contribute to change their lives as they have forever changed ours.
As this is my first MBA class with my Alma Mater, I am extremely happy to have had the true Manhattan College Lasallian experience- being able to pursue business and economic class with a soul.  Our Lasallian community is built on this commitment to education, to generosity of spirit, and of the power of education to change lives. Dr. Arora, and all our professors, have been such incredible mentors for such ethical business.  Throughout this journey, everyone we spoke with truly cared- not only about the business, but helping give back to the communities, and preserve the environment which we researched to serve. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of such incredible efforts to see even myself and our fellow University Students can help change the world.  We can see hope in helplessness, as St. John Baptist De La Salle said, “Remembering that God is with you will help and inspire you in all that you do”.  Certain things cannot only be learned in a text book, and it is a true privilege to belong to a school who embodies this belief in every class that you participate in, and stays in your heart long after you graduate.  In the essence of Gandhi—Together, we Jaspers, can help be the change we wish to see.