AWOL: Health and Hunger

AWOL: Health and Hunger

AWOL: Health and Hunger
Front: Charles Webster. Second row: Carlee Brown, Meghan Harmening, Krystal Schulte, Amanda Jamtgaard, Kelsey Blum, Caitlin Hoffman. Third row: Ken Meissner, Kadie Dennison, Caitlin Bach, Joshua Fortman, Karl Ahrens, Alicia Savoy, and Mark Shea.

BVU students traveled to Staten Island, N.Y., where they partnered with two organizations. Project Hospitality focuses on hunger, homelessness and outreach to individuals with HIV/AIDS, and Tunnels2Towers concentrates on Hurricane Sandy relief work. Students completed a remodeling project on a home affected by the storm and worked at a food pantry, stocking shelves and helping people shop. After a workshop for people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, students served and shared meals with people affected by the disease at the Positive Living Dinner event.

Advisors for the experience were Ken Meissner, director of spiritual life and Mark Shea, director of student success at BVU.

“For me and most of the students, the most memorable moments were the interactions we had with people we met during the Positive Living Dinner,” said Shea. “We had an opportunity to hear their stories and understand the issues they face every day. It helped us all take a look at our own lives in comparison to someone facing much greater challenges than we are.”

“AWOL service trips help students realize that they cannot always transform social issues alone, but they can make a difference by taking some face-to-face and heart-to-heart time with others,” said Meissner. “Through an open understanding with people who don’t share our experiences, each of us can capture a glimpse of authentic compassion that can transform the dynamics between strangers. And when we’re no longer strangers, we can work together to address the issues and problems we face today.”

Caitlin Bach, a senior biology major from Bondurant and Caitlin Hoffman, a senior communication studies major from Sioux City were the student site leaders for the trip. Other students who participated in the Health and Hunger AWOL experience were Charles Webster, a junior criminology and criminal justice major from Panora; Carlee Brown, a junior criminology and criminal justice major from Harrisonville, Mo.; Joshua Fortmann, a junior biology major from Cedar Rapids; Karl Ahrendsen, a senior physics and computer science – math major from Clarion; Kelsey Blum, a junior elementary education major from Arcadia; Krystal Schulte, a senior art and digital media major from Carroll; Meghan Harmening, a junior business with financial decision-making emphasis and accounting major from Marshall, Minn.; Alicia Savoy, a sophomore biology major from Garner; Kadie Dennison, a senior communication studies and theatre major from Lisbon; and Amanda Jamtgaard, a senior accounting major from Ireton.