Septic Systems, Spirituality and Sports?

by Hannah Beairsto ’20

The Collaboratory and Friends in Action (FIA), a local mission’s organization based in Elizabethtown, PA that works in countries all over the world doing infrastructure development, are strengthening their relationship in Nicaragua. They work with the Rama tribe to help improve their living conditions. The Rama people primarily live on an island, but it is small and overcrowded with 1,200 people, and has poor sanitation. The goal of the projects is to successfully transfer the tribe to a community being built on the mainland. There are three projects involved in forming this new village: one, the block press, which is a manual machine used to make clay bricks, which the Rama people then use to make their homes and other buildings in the mainland community. As of now, eleven homes have been built. The second project deals with sanitation for the residents, to develop a septic solution for this new community. The third project, the bridge, engineered by students and faculty from the Collaboratory, is already completed. Despite popular misconceptions, the bridge is not between the island and the mainland, but rather connects mainland property over a dividing canal.

Dereck Plante, the Engineering Program Manager, went to Nicaragua in December of 2016 with Dr. Brian Swartz, on a trip led by Tim Johnston, the executive director of Friends in Action. The trip went smoothly, thanks to Johnston. “Johnston has been tremendous, and has been working with the Rama people for fifteen years,” says Plante. Collaboratory members observed three projects, and look forward to the new development in the works: the formulation of a new baseball team, thanks to A Revolution of Missional Athletes (AROMA).  AROMA is a sports ministry based at Messiah College.

“The Rama people love baseball,” Plante says, “so AROMA is sending two members [Josh Good and Joe Saufley] down in June to establish some baseball clinics, as well as look into the future possibility of having more AROMA folks come down to the site.”

Josh Good ’16, a Messiah alumnus now employed at AROMA, says that they have three goals in mind for the project. First, they plan to “lead 2-3 baseball clinics that we pray will allow us to build deep relationships with the Rama people that lead to the sharing of our testimonies. We want to bridge the gap between faith and sport, tell them why we’ve traveled down to play baseball is to share our faith, and faith is what brought us there.” Second, they want to assess the baseball talent level among the people to see if it would be worthwhile to bring a whole baseball team with them next time. Third, they desire to make disciples out of the Rama people who love baseball and Jesus. Good notes, “A lot of people put sports and faith in two different categories. It would be great to show them they can use sports to spread their faith.”

IMG_3171.JPGWe will have to wait and see the results of this exciting future trip, and are ecstatic to see all the ongoing progress!  

To learn more about Friends in Action or AROMA, visit their websites:

Friends in Action: 



Service Day

By Olivia McCullum ‘18

IMG_1163.JPGEvery April, Messiah College encourages servant leadership by canceling classes and other activities on campus for one day,allowing students, faculty, and staff to participate in various projects around campus. The Collaboratory is particularly busy on this day, as project managers, faculty, and students gather to work on their various projects for the day. While weekly Collaboratory meetings consistently focus on serving, Service Day has a special meaning for many students and faculty within the Collaboratory. We asked several members of the Collaboratory how they saw service day impacting their project and the organization.IMG_1166.JPG

Autumn Bank ‘19, a member of the Marketing Project, enjoys Service Day because it allows her and other project members to spend a significant amount of time focusing on social media posts. Bank says, “My project impacts the Collaboratory by getting important information out to the public about the Collaboratory”and Service Day is a great day for publicizing the work of the Collaboratory and concentrating on long-term projects.

Another member of the Collaboratory, student Daniel Gallagher ‘18 notes that Service Day allows his project the opportunity to dedicate a full day of work to “further God’s Kingdom through what we can accomplish.” Doug Flemmens, Director of the Collaboratory, notes that Service Day allows the project members to not only work for extended periods of time, but also gives student and faculty the opportunity to reflect and celebrate on all the work that has been accomplished over the past year. Additionally, he says, Service Day grants different projects the opportunity to meet IMG_1165.JPGtogether and gain a fuller understanding of the scope of different projects.
Service Day has truly become a special tradition for Messiah College, and for the Collaboratory.  Any day can be purely dedicated to service, but this day in the Collaboratory allows for different projects to focus and get larger amounts of work done all for the glory of God.

Interview with Sandra Snozzi


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By Olivia McCullum ‘18

Sandra Snozzi ‘18, a junior engineering major with a double concentration in computer and electrical engineering, shared her incredible journey through the Collaboratory and the inspiration for her participation in this organization. She is a student project manager and a student board member.

Sandra, intrigued by the Collaboratory before attending Messiah, first heard of the Collaboratory’s global involvement and service aspect. When Sandra attended her first Collaboratory meeting in her freshman year, she quickly found a project she was passionate about. Although an engineering major, the Yako Education project inspired Sandra to delve deeper into the Collaboratory.

In spring semester of her freshman year, Sandra joined the Intelligent Water project, which develops a pump monitoring device. This technology uses a cellphone from inside the pump to send a text alert should the pump break. Now, as the student project manager, she says that one of her most fulfilling roles involves the possibility to empower fellow project members.

Last year, Sandra became a member of the student board in the hopes of improving Collaboratory. One of her favorite elements of being a student board member is sharing her passion for Collaboratory with other members. They attempt to expand the possibilities for volunteering and working in Collaboratory to incorporate more fields of study. Sandra also emphasized that not only is the Collaboratory an opportunity for service and application of education, but also a spiritual journey through which members can spread the message of God’s kingdom.

Sandra’s faith developed as a result of Collaboratory, specifically in that she learned the value of teamwork. While it can be difficult to adjust to everyone’s needs and abilities, Sandra believes that every member of each project is driven to fulfill a common goal to complete the task, sharing love to all. She values the solidarity which she finds as a member of the Collaboratory and the student board.

In her last year at Messiah, Sandra hopes to witness the continuous improvement of both her project and the Collaboratory. She cannot wait to see the Collaboratory branching out into other majors and disciplines in the hope of harnessing unique perspectives.

Kim Phipps Speaks at Collaboratory

by Kira Adelman ’19

On March 20th, the Collaboratory was lucky to experience President Kim Phipps speak, where she discussed Sustainable Excellence Through Collaboration. As the president at Messiah College, she oversees and manages how the college functions, making herself available each hour of the day, all the time. Yet Phipps took an hour out of her day to speak to the Collaboratory. Sarah Beairsto, the student project manager of the Collaboratory Marketing Project, asked Kim Phipps what she likes about the Collaboratory:

I’m just a great fan of the Collaboratory because I believe it is distinctive to Messiah College. They talk about preparing students for service, leadership, and reconciliation. The Collaboratory is our best expression of that. The fact that it continues through the semester from year to year. It makes a difference in so many people’s lives and it’s just amazing to me. The student leadership and the involvement of advisers and the involvement of people in the community is just extraordinarythere’s  nothing else like it on our campus. There’s a lot of great things going on in the Collaboratory.”

Messiah College, and especially the Collaboratory, is blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive president like Kim Phipps. Phipps helps the Collaboratory out in many ways, and is well known for her student interactions at Messiah. Thank you, Kim Phipps for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak to the Collaboratory. If you enjoyed listening to Kim Phipps speak, come listen to Peter Greer speak on April 10th in Alexander Auditorium (Frey 110) at 6pm. All are welcome whether you are a member of the Collaboratory or not!