As part of its global learning initiative, in 2013 Lourdes University established the Ireland Program which provides an opportunity for students to travel to Tullycross, Ireland, a small island country with a rich and varied history. Students participating in the 5-week summer semester course spend the first 2 weeks in the classroom learning about Irish history and culture in preparation for a 3-week international immersion experience.

Last summer’s inaugural Ireland Program group was so touched by the people of Tully Cross during their stay, that upon return they chose to establish the Lourdes Community Aid Grant to help benefit the Irish community for years to come. Funds raised for the grant will go toward providing physical and mental health services to those in Tullycross. To ensure that the charity not only grows, but also goes directly to the services most needed by Tullycross, Lourdes is housing the fund with an Irish-based organization known as Connemara West.

On Saturday, May 10, the group will host “The Gathering of the Green,” an event aimed at raising funds for the Lourdes Community Aid Grant, while also bringing people together to celebrate Irish culture. The Gathering of the Green will be held in the Ebeid Student Center (lower level of Delp Hall) at 7:30 p.m. and features hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and Irish entertainment featuring The Thirsty Houligans and Irish step dancers. Tickets are $10 (or free with a Lourdes I.D.) and can be purchased in at the door.“I’m a big proponent of giving back and making programs like this sustainable and purposeful for both sides. Our students will benefit from being able to learn about a different culture, and experience a new area of the world, but we want to make sure it also benefits the local population. Our hope is that this grant fund can help residents with things such as family support services, assistance with medical appointments, and buying school supplies. Through Gathering of the Green, we are thrilled to offer an event where people of our community can come together to raise funds to help another community across the globe,” adds Terry Keller, Assistant Professor and Chair of Lourdes Social Work Department.

The 2014 Ireland Program will take place during summer semester, with the group spending May 30 through June 21 in Tully Cross. For more details on the Ireland Program and other global learning initiatives at Lourdes University, visit www.lourdes.edu/globallearning

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