Business Students Clean Up Beach in Dominica

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 5, 2010

Robert Marciante, a junior Business major, has been to the Caribbean island nation Dominica three times, each time gaining a greater understanding of the nation’s economy and appreciation for its people. This time the experience included a spontaneous service component. The 48 Arcadia students and faculty on the experience cleaned up a beach and made the news on a local radio station. Listen to the radio interview and read more about “Talking Tourism.”

Students in ID 181 Dominica/Infrastructure and ID 381 Dominica/Environment began their coursework last fall and traveled to Commonwealth of Dominica for 10 days during winter break, “where we were culturally immersed into their infrastructure, economy, and daily practices,” says Marciante.

An ID experience is an interdisciplinary course that studies the environment, history, politics, and/or artistic heritage of a foreign culture. The only prerequisites are curiosity about the world and a willingness to learn firsthand about the similarities and differences among cultures. The January trip included 43 students and five professors and was led by  Thomas Brinker Jr. and Adjunct Professor Dr. Dan Moscovici.

“We had lectures from the minister of tourism, the attorney general’s office. the bar association, the island’s tax officials, Native Indians, and many other key people. From these lectures we learned of Dominica’s tax structure, how foreigners can invest or buy real estate, and how Dominica is trying to market itself to countries such as the United States and Europe,” says Marciante. “We also learned that people like Oprah and Johnny Depp stayed here, and it is here where the movie Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.

“Along with lectures, we had tours of the island’s leading organizations such as Colgate-Palmolive, Kubuli Beer, and a Cruise ship in port. It was on these tours where we saw how soap was made, and we were able to board a cruise ship were we received a tour and ate some of their great cuisine.

“To thank the islanders for allowing us to experience and learn more about their emerging country, we were able to clean up one of their beaches,” adds Marciante. “Upon arriving at Scotts Head, a piece of land that extends into the ocean where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, most were saddened by the site we saw. This beach was covered with all sorts of debris such as bottles, kitchen appliances, beds, shoes and others. This island prides itself on being the ‘nature island’ of the Caribbean. This is where we felt we as an Arcadia community could better yet another place. We all set out and picked up almost all of the debris (enough to fill up a truck load) to restore this beach to its former glory, and to leave on them the type of impression that they have left on us.”

Marciante says that every visit to Dominica brings something new, with this year’s experience including going to a bat cave and onto a cruise ship, staying at new locations, cleaning up beaches, going to new places on the island, and having different guest lecturers. “Every time you go again, you learn more, and it is amazing how the people will remember a face and become more comfortable in telling you more about what is really going on down there and the feelings toward their challenges. You really get to experience more when there is more trust between yourself and the local people.”