Regis University students Chris Lew and Marley Weaver-Gabel returned from a special international service trip to . For now the location and names of those involved must remain top secret.
Only the small circle of six Opus Student Scholars, three Faculty Delegates and a few need-to-know staff are aware of the details of the trip. Everything is hush-hush until Alumni Weekend this July, when Regis announces all three finalists for the $1 million and two $100,000 awards to be presented Oct. 11 at the Opus Prize Awards Ceremony. For now, confidentiality is key to allowing the review process to take place properly with the help of our students.
As Opus Prize Student Scholars, Lew, a third-year physical therapy student, and Weaver-Gabel, a junior studying international business and public relations, visited , one of the three confidential Opus Prize finalists. Both students were chosen for this role because of their proven commitment to service and their ability to represent the best of Regis.
“The area we were in was so corrupt, so poor and our finalist was doing everything possible to fill the gaps that the government of won’t close,” Lew said.
All the public can know about the finalist’s organization is its cause: to bring hope to young and adult refugee women displaced by war using the power of education.
“ brought the community in to serve itself, to have a voice in addressing this issue,” Weaver-Gabel said. “It’s a truly sustainable program.”
Unlike most Regis service trips, there was no hands-on service.
Their mission was to assist the Opus Prize Foundation in assessing the nonprofit’s effectiveness. They reviewed everything from emotional impact to financial statements.
“We took our Jesuit values there and saw how well they aligned with this amazing organization,” Weaver-Gabel said. “I learned how many ways a nonprofit can serve a community and about new ways I can get involved.”
The remaining two site visits take place with fresh students and faculty taking the lead each time.
While you wait for the finalists reveal, read the full bios of all the Opus Student Scholars and Faculty Delegates here.