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Campus Bulletin

February 14, 2007

Four to Go Abroad With Leave for Change

The first four U of G employees to take part in Leave for Change, an international volunteer program where people spend their vacations making a difference abroad, have been selected.

They are: Frebis Hoffmeyer of the College of Management and Economics, Wayne Johnston of the U of G Library, Michael Levy of the Office of Research and Sean Yo of Computing and Communications Services.

Levy’s volunteer stint will take him to Shawake, Botswana, to work on a website design assignment. Johnston and Yo are both headed for Nepal, where they’ll work with the Nepal Fair Trade Group. Hoffmeyer is also going to Nepal, to help the Federation of Community Forest Users with a database to organize their records.

Guelph is the first university in English-speaking Canada to participate in Leave for Change, which is run through Uniterra, an international initiative created by the World University Service of Canada and Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale.

President Alastair Summerlee says the selection of U of G’s first four Leave for Change participants is exciting news and something the entire University should celebrate.

“These four employees have an incredible opportunity to make a difference in communities halfway around the world, and it will undoubtedly be an amazing professional and personal experience,” he says.

“While taking part in their respective assignments, they will be gaining valuable new skills and understanding, and they will bring that new knowledge back to Guelph to share with the community so we can all benefit.”

There was no shortage of employees willing to volunteer their services when they were invited to participate in Leave for Change, says Martha Harley, assistant vice-president (human resources), whose office oversaw the application and selection process led by Uniterra.

“It is typical of the Guelph spirit that there were more applicants than places available,” says Harley, “so candidates actually had to be interviewed for these positions. It was exciting to see that kind of response and made the whole process very rewarding for those of us working behind the scenes.”

Hoffmeyer says that she is excited about the trip to Nepal, her first to the region. She says she has a genuine interest in understanding how other cultures perceive the world and their role in it. She’ll have the opportunity to do just that — not only by working with the Federation of Community Forest Users but also by living with a Nepalese family.

“It’s a perfect way to help them achieve their goals and for me to gain understanding of how our actions in Canada affect other parts of the world and to know how I should make changes to the way I live at home,” she says.

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