While Meredith College students were studying abroad worldwide this summer, a group of 20 Meredith faculty and staff members, co-led by Catherine Rodgers and Professor Emerita Betty Webb, visited the Palazzo Alberti in Sansepolcro, Italy, from May 27–June 4.
Rodgers, professor of theatre and director of Meredith in Italy, explained the inspiration for the trip: “There were multiple summer Meredith programs in Italy this year, but there was one week open, so Director of International Programs Brooke Shurer had the idea to invite faculty and staff to Italy.”
The trip offered planned group excursions yet provided enough flexibility for individuals to travel on their own. Beyond the community of Sansepolcro, the group visited Angiari, the closest walled medieval city, Montecasale, which overlooks the valley of Sansepolcro, and Deruta, a town known for beautiful ceramics.
The first trip of its kind, and the first time in Italy for many faculty and staff members, the experience was very positive, according to Rodgers.
One of the best aspects of the trip was the opportunity for faculty and staff to get to know each other. Assistant Professor of History Angela Robbins said, “I was able to share this experience with colleagues in other departments, some that I didn’t know before and others that I got to know better, and feel that we developed a bond we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Rodgers ultimately hopes that the faculty and staff will see the value of the Italy program. “The community of Sansepolcro loves and embraces us, and they see Meredith College as part of their community,” said Rodgers. “I hope that the faculty and staff were able to take part in that.”
Robbins certainly achieved the takeaway Rodgers hoped. “Sansepolcro is such a beautiful, charming, and warm place,” Robbins said. “It feels like a campus because you’re all together and education is central to the program, and the locals are so welcoming that you feel like you’re at home.”
Of the faculty and staff who traveled to Italy, the dance, math, history, and computer science programs, as well as the offices of career planning, dean of students, and registrar, were among those representing the Meredith campus community.
In the future, Rodgers hopes to take another group to Italy. “We will definitely try to offer the trip again in 2019,” she said.
By Abigail Ojeda, ’19