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Name: Lauren Valenti
Hometown: Walpole, MA
Year: Class of 2019
Wildlife Conservation

In her own words:

I spent three weeks of my summer being a part of a volunteer group called VESA (Volunteer Eco Students Abroad). I travelled to the Republic of South Africa, the Kingdom of Swaziland, and the Republic of Mozambique where I learned to live (briefly) without clean or hot water which had always accessible to me. It was life changing.

I fell in love with the countries, as well as with so many people. I got to donate my time, and whatever resources I was able to bring on the plane (including Eastern T-shirts the soccer team graciously donated) to an orphanage and a school where I got to meet the children and help them however I could. While in South Africa, I was also able to volunteer for KZN-Ezemvelo Wildlife Authority in two different wildlife conservation projects: The Saint Lucia Crocodile Centerand the Emdoneni Cheetah Project. I have such a passion for animals and to be able to help out with conservation projects such as those, was a dream come true.

One of the most memorable moments on my trip was constructing a home for a local family of nine that had a parent with a disability. I learned how to mix cement and create a ramp for them. Later on, I travelled to Swaziland and Mozambique, where I met so many locals eager to converse and show my group and I around. The people of Africa that I came in contact with are resourceful, positive, and kind. One observation I made throughout my trip was that they are happy as they are and they take pride in what they have in life. They do not focus on what they could be missing. Honestly, it’s inspiring to witness.

Below is as an address anyone could send donations to. I strongly recommend any and all writing utensils, rulers, learning workbooks , and toys that the students could play with in the schoolyard. They are very independent, smart children who make the absolute best with what they have, so imagine what they could do with all the right tools!”

P.O. Box 9618, St. Lucia, 3936, Khula Village, South Aftrica

Athletic Career: Lauren will return for her fourth season with the women's soccer team, having helped the Warriors to an overall record of 35-16-6 and a Little East Conference regular-season record of 19-0-2 and at least a share of the LEC regular-season title every year. A defender, Lauren was limited to 11 matches last year due to injury after starting all 19 matches and averaging 84.1 minutes per match as a sophomore. Last year's team allowed an average of only 1.45 goals per match. Lauren is a a member of the LEC All-Academic Team and is an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award recipient.