Top L-R: Kristi Davis, Kassidy Chandler, Amanda Miley, Hannah Reno Bottom L-R: Ken Meissner, Kyoko Mishima, Caroline Marlow, Justin Graf

Top L-R: Kristi Davis, Kassidy Chandler, Amanda Miley, Hannah Reno Bottom L-R: Ken Meissner, Kyoko Mishima, Caroline Marlow, Justin Graf

April 16, 2018

Six Buena Vista University students participated in an Alternative Week of Off-site Learning trip during spring break, enabling them to volunteer their time and service with a focus on tackling hunger and food sustainability in Waco, Texas. 

The BVU participants served with World Hunger Relief, Inc., a Christian organization committed to the alleviation of food insecurity and malnutrition through sustainable agriculture and community development. The organization works to bring light to the issues of hunger focusing on the low-income, disabled, and elderly communities. 

Throughout the week, the group had the opportunity to experience circumstances that are common in hunger-stricken and impoverished countries. This included residing in the “Nicaragua House,” which was built to replicate middle-class housing in Nicaragua and included a tin roof and four cement walls. The group also helped tend community garden and participated in a number of simulations while being educated on the different aspects of hunger, sustainability, and food responsibility. 

“We are always able to hear about the different lives that people live on a daily basis, but it is an experience all its own to live it for a week,” said Amanda Miley, a junior biology major from Independence, Mo. “We faced our small encounter with hunger and then were able to come back home and eat a nice meal, whereas people in hunger-ridden areas are living that every day.” 

Others students who participated in the hunger and food sustainability AWOL trip were KassidyChandler, a senior exercise science major from Casey; Hannah Reno, a first year elementary education major from Goldfield; Kyoko Mishima, a junior digital media major from Japan; Justin Graf, a junior biomedical sciences major from Center Point; and Caroline Marlow, a senior exceptional student service and instruction major from Decorah. 

“Volunteerism allows insight into the meaning and causes of why communities need service,” added Miley, who was one of the student site leaders. “AWOL and other service opportunities are important because there is a lot that needs to be happen in order to create beneficial change in local and global communities.” 

Advisors for this experience were Ken Meissner, director of spiritual life at BVU; and Kristi Davis, assistant director of career and personal development and internship coordinator at BVU.