15 University of Tampa students volunteer in Ecuador

The 15 Tampa students traveled to an Ecuadorean village in the Amazon about an hour from Quito. | File photo

Fifteen students from the University of Tampa recently took part in an alternative break, hosted by the PEACE Volunteer Center, that saw them travel to a village in the Amazon about an hour from Quito, Ecuador.

“When I come back from an alternative break like this, I feel like the world makes a little more sense and that I'm a little more connected to it; it grounds me,” Daniel Holahan, a business management major who co-led the trip, said. “I learn a tremendous amount about myself, the community I live in or that's thousands of miles away, and I hope that I can make a fraction of the positive impact that the people in these communities have on me.”

Through the program, the students were able to learn about the Amazon’s ecosystem during treks through the forest and learned about conservation efforts being undertaken to preserve it. They also learned about lifestyles of those who live in the forest, including their farming techniques.

“In PEACE, we often reference active citizenship and what it means to be an active citizen,” Holahan said. “It's someone who makes their community a priority in every decision they make and work to better it; I have no doubt that all of these students will do the same.”