Honors College students have teamed up with the Dallas-based nonprofit CitySquare to fight poverty in the Dallas area.
A hand-picked group of 15 freshmen from the 135 Honors students were chosen to be a part of an urban and justice studies team. All are pursuing an interdisciplinary degree.
“We wanted to pick students who we thought would be the best fit, in terms of what they were interested in studying,” Stephen Johnson, dean of the Honors college, said.
According to their website, the Dallas-based nonprofit “exists to fight the root causes of poverty by partnering with those in need. Working together as a community, we feed the hungry, heal the sick, house the homeless and renew hope in the heart of our city.”
During the trip, the group walked families through the food pantry, played with children and experienced firsthand what fighting poverty looks like.
Meg Brackenbury, a freshman interdisciplinary student from Oconomowoc, WI was one of the few students chosen to join the group on this venture to experience what the fight against poverty really entails.
“This has to be exactly along the line of what I want to do and what I want to put my passion into,” Brackenbury said. “I heard about this opportunity to be a part of a program that not only wanted to integrate its students, but wanted to do it right away.”
One memory that stands out to Brackenbury from the trip is of a man named Arnold who worked at the food pantry.
As the group was pulling out of the parking lot, Arnold knocked on the window of the van and asked if they would be driving past the train station.
The group ended up taking Arnold to his house.
“That was an extreme example of the friendships that you form within 3 1/2 hours,” Brackenbury said.
The trip last Friday was the first of four planned trips during the school year. The next trip is planned for October 12.
“In this environment, we just get to be God right away.Â We don’t have to wait; we don’t have to have a diploma to say ‘Here’s what you can do to help the world,'” Brackenbury said, “We are learning how to go into a community and see the effects that this company is having immediately.”