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CU Away Ireland students study social justice and peace building initiatives for 12 days

CU Away Ireland students study social justice and peace building initiatives for 12 days
CU Away Ireland participants visit the Tangent Program at Trinity University. From left are: Traci Stickney, Haley McGrew, Sarah Link, Allyson Lambert, program coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Lanham and Cindy Stuhmer. (CU Photo provided by Jennifer Lanham)

By Alexandria Swanger, communications assistant, Office of University Communications

Four Campbellsville University students traveled to Dublin, Ireland for 12 days as part of one of the first CU Away trips offered. CU Away is a program focused on taking students out of the classroom and into the field to engage in hands-on learning and gain first-hand experience.

CU Away Ireland students study social justice and peace building initiatives for 12 days 1
Students Haley McGrew, left, Sarah Link, Traci Stickney and Cindy Stuhmer visit another location in Dublin, Ireland as part of their 12 day trip for CU Away Ireland. (CU Photo provided by Jennifer Lanham)

The main focus of the trip was to study social justice and peace building initiatives surrounding Irish independence and Catholic and Protestant conflicts. Each site provided students a look at both sides of Ireland’s conflict. Several agencies hosted CU’s students and provided information/lectures on their initiatives while engaging students to critically examine and discuss alternatives to political and secular conflict.

The students in attendance were master of social work graduate students Cindy Stuhmer and Traci Stickney and bachelor of social work students Haley McGrew and Sarah Link. The students were led by Campbellsville University’s Dr. Jennifer Lanham, professor of social work, with assistance from Technical University Dublin lecturer, Garreth Smith of Community and Youth Development in Dublin, Ireland.

Students were lectured on the history of Ireland and its current/future political climate following the Brexit referendum. Historical sites were also visited to promote cultural immersion and included Belfast’s political mural tour, Crumlin Road Jail, the Titanic Museum and the Irish Republican History Museum. Students also visited historical sites in the Republic of Ireland which included the Famine Ship, Glasnevin Cemetery and Kilmainham Jail.

“I appreciated the difference between Ireland and America regarding social worker roles, societal values and history,” Stuhmer said.

Daniel Rogers, a professor at Trinity College, introduced students to ‘Design Thinking’ also known as a “hack-a-thon”—designed to engage students by encouraging them to discuss, examine and solve social issues such as homelessness.

Other initiatives and programs visited by students included: The Peace Walls Programme, which interfaces Catholic and Protestant communities to create the conditions that can lead to the removal of barriers in Belfast, coordinated by Sarah Lorimer, project coordinator and peace advocacy worker;

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Students visiting an exhibit during their CU Away trip in Ireland. From left are: Traci Stickney, Sarah Link, Haley McGrew and Cindy Stuhmer. (CU Photo provided by Jennifer Lanham)

AlternativesRJ, a community-based Restorative Justice project tackling antisocial behavior, community conflict and community safety issues in Northern Ireland, coordinated by Billy Drummond, program manager; Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace where students, staff and forward-looking external partners have the opportunity to imagine, collaborate, and iterate — putting ideas into action that can positively impact the world, coordinated by Allyson Lambert, program coordinator; Voice of Young People in Care (Voypic), an Advocacy organization representing the rights of young people. Trained advocates work with children up to the age of 25 as well as with young people in Beech- croft Child and Adolescent Inpatient Unit in Northern Ireland.

For more information about CU Away and any future opportunities, contact Dr. Shawn Williams at

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 12,000 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has Kentucky based off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. Out-of-state centers include two in California at Los Angeles and Lathrop, located in the San Francisco Bay region.  The website for complete information is

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Students Cindy Stuhmer, left, Traci Stickney, Haley McGrew and Sarah Link discuss various topics with Technical University lecturer Garreth Smith. (CU Photo provided by Jennifer Lanham)

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.