Honors college students and faculty from

West Chester University

are in South Africa for part of May, the school's fourth trip in seven years, to work at a number of philanthropic organizations in the country.

The group of 40 - 31 students and nine faculty members - left on May 12. During their stay they are scheduled to visit Cape Town and Johannesburg. They will spend time in Sparrow Village, which provides housing and care for terminally ill HIV/AIDS patients outside Johannesburg, and will help out at the H.E.L.P. Ministries soup kitchen.

Brendon Johnson, a WCU honor college student, established an annual fund-raising event, "Aid to South Africa," which has raised $16,000 for Sparrow Village and H.E.L.P. Ministries over the last three years.

The West Chester students collected school supplies before they left, which they will distribute at a rural community school for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. WCU honors college students first visited South Africa in 2001 and returned in 2004 and 2006. They are scheduled to return to Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

- Will Hobson