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Monday, February 28, 2011

Over fall break, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to New York with Purdue’s Christian Campus House (PCCH). This trip was part of the Global Connect Ministry. The Global Connect Ministry provides foreign exchange students with the opportunity to see more of the Unites States and get better connected with Purdue students. It was privilege to be a part of the trip. We left early Saturday morning from PCCH and drove to Indianapolis to catch our flight. I was a little more excited/nervous than others because I had never flown in an airplane before. Getting through security wasn’t quite the nightmare I had expected it to be, maybe because it was so early. Regardless, I was glad for how smoothly everything was going. Take off was a little nerve wracking and two and a half hours later I was the farthest from home I’d ever been, which was also nerve wracking. During our time in New York, we stayed in a hostel which wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. It was a really nice place with very friendly people. Every second of everyday was jam packed full of things to do and see. We hit nearly all the big sites in the Big Apple. We went to Central Park, the Empire State Building, Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Wall Street, 5th Avenue, China Town, Little Italy, Soho, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Colombia University. We saw Billy Elliott on Broadway, went to church at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, had deep dish pizza, and of course went shopping at all the amazing stores. We also went to Ground Zero which was probably the most memorable and moving experience. Despite all the things we got to do, spending time with people on the trip was definitely the best part. It was great to have really intentional conversations with people in the time we had. Learning about people’s lives and having them be equally interested in yours was really humbling. Leaving New York was really sad. One weekend didn’t quite seem like long enough to site see or get to know everyone when we headed for home. We were all exhausted when we left but all glad that we had been able to share such a great experience. I left New York City with a lot of memories and a lot more friends. It will forever be in my book as one of the best weekends of my life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Trip to Haiti

Over the past winter break, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Haiti. I went with a group from St. Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic Church that is located on Purdue’s campus. Sixteen other students and I traveled to Haiti’s country side and stayed in a small village called Baudin. We were there for six days.

Within those six days, we were able to help a few Haitian construction workers rebuild a library that was part of St. Francis Xavier church, a “sister” parish that St. Thomas Aquinas Church is partnered with. Approximately one year after the earthquake, it was pretty evident that not a whole lot has been done to reconstruct many of the buildings in Haiti. This library was one of them. During our first day there, we took down the rest of the roof that was still hanging, reorganized books and furniture that were in the building, cleaned up debris, and hammered down two concrete platforms. The theme of our labor was “ROCK RECYCLING” on the other days. We moved approximately one ton of rock from the pile of broken down wall to another area in order to create a foundation for part of another building. Then, we sifted through another ton of rock in order extract sand that was later used to create cement for the cinder block for the new wall that we built. By the end of our stay, we finished the final part of the library wall.

Because my majors are in Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences, I noticed many things about the Haitian work conditions. Those conditions were not good. First, because these Haitians did not have the basic tools necessary to complete their jobs in a safe manner, they had to resort to hard, physical labor in order to accomplish their tasks. Jobs that would normally take one day to do in America would take seven days to do in Haiti. Workers were standing on broken chairs to reach high corners of the wall, and all of them were working in flip flops or Crocs that were falling apart.

It breaks my heart to see people work in these kinds of conditions, and I’m sure any OSHA inspector who saw these things would have a heart attack. But even though these conditions are unacceptable in the United States, it is the only way things can get done in Haiti. The adults and children in Haiti are hard working individuals who experience the joys of life every day, even through the hardships of having to live impoverished lives. There is a ton that we Americans, including myself, can learn from them!

Going to Haiti reconfirmed what I want to do after I graduate from Purdue: to work for a non-profit organization that aids third world countries in improving their environments and qualities of living. I not only want to help in improving work conditions for people, but I specifically want to help improve the water quality in impoverished communities.

As you are reading this blog post, you are probably thinking, “Okay, great! But how can I apply this to my own life?” There are many opportunities for students to take trips like this at Purdue. Even though I did this through my church, you can Study Abroad via many other programs and schools. There are also opportunities for you to apply for Purdue Grants to get money to do a variety of international projects. I am a huge advocate of travelling, especially if you can learn something and earn course credit while in another country! So, during your time here, consider travelling abroad. I mean, you might as well when you are young, right?

Me and Macelyn, a 10 year old girl that lives in Baudin.

Passing through a heavily polluted neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

- Genevieve

Friday, February 4, 2011

Jaci’s February Blog

I am so excited for the new semester. I just entered a new major, Public Health Promotions and I love my new classes. My favorite class thus far is Human Diseases and Disorders. It is so interesting to learn the causes and treatments for diseases. It is definitely an educational class for anyone on campus. You can learn about the diseases you may be at risk for or the consequences that may take place because of the way you treat your body now.

I have been extremely busy with applying to internships. I am constantly searching the web for new opportunities. I hope to find an internship that deals with inequalities in our healthcare system. I’d like to be involved with creating a program that helps the people who do not receive good healthcare. I do not know where my career will take me, but I hope that an internship will give me the opportunities to better myself as a health educator.

Purdue recently sponsored ESPN College Gameday. They would not let us camp-out the night before for good seats because the weather conditions were dangerously cold. So, some friends and I woke up at 6am to make our trek to Mackey Arena. There was so much enthusiasm coming from all of the students, even though we all lacked sleep. I am not sure if I made it on television, but it was an awesome experience!

On a more non-academic note, I am looking counting the hours already until springbreak. I am going visit my sister in Houston, Texas. I am so excited to see the sun finally!! Last year, we went to the Houston Rodeo and it was quite the experience. I can’t wait to go again! This year, I’ll remember my cowboy boots.

Hibernation..in the lab

The last two days Purdue’s had school closed due to the winter storm. My gutter ripped off my house in the wind, my car is snowed in the alley behind my house, and it took me twice as long to walk to MTHW’s today due to the piled up snow. But ends up, I’m not the only one who made the trek. About five others join me now – two other seniors – to work on our projects.

This year the fashion show is April 2nd. Every single day leading up to it is preparation and time management. All individuals are diligently working to create fantastic garments - for instance, braving the winter storm to come here. We’ve even obtained a coffee machine and a refrigerator; however, Jimmy Johns, Marcos, and Hot Box are frequented. The vending machines downstairs now accept debit/credit cards, which is quite handy late at night or in a storm. Our lab has really become like a second home to most of us.
Individuals will even come in to work on other projects, such as for their art classes. Coming up the stairs and entering the hallway, a lit room behind a doorway and music greet every snow-covered design student, welcoming them back. Back to their friends. Back to the work.

And now, it’s back I go.


College Game Day 2011 - Sparty go down!

Wow! What an incredible experience!!! Above, this is the poster my friends and I made. In case you don't understand "knightmares," we taped a "k" before "nightmares" because of Bobby Knight. He was supposed to be one of the commentators to grace us with his presence, but we think he just got too scared to enter Boiler Nation. The event was probably one of the best experiences I have had with Purdue Athletics. The atmosphere of Mackey was unbelievable. The energy was high, and everyone was a bit slap happy from the lack of sleep. Of course, you had the Paint Crew camping outside Mackey in single digit temperatures, and everyone who woke up super duper early to get in line. I was one of those who woke up at 6AM on a Saturday. It was totally worth it. Here are a few more pictures to recap the amazingness! Oh how proud I am to be a Boilermaker! :)

Sled Day!!

A typical weekday for me might include a morning working in Dr. Campbell’s metabolic lab, doing some research for my honors project, heading to class, attending a meeting or two, and heading home for some “family dinner” and quality time with my Alpha Chi Omega sisters before embarking on a studying marathon. Yesterday was no different as I sat down with my microbiology lab manual to sketch some bacteria. No different, that is, until someone mentioned it was snowing. “Forget homework” one of my roommates said, “we’re going sledding.” Two of my roommates, Amy and Erin, and I started bundling up and recruited one more—Jackie, a sister from Texas who had NEVER been sledding before!

We began to lay out the logistics of our plan and decided that our ice-laden driveway was the perfect spot for our adventure, so we headed to the basement closets to find the house sleds. Problem: the sleds were nowhere to be found. We headed up to our house mom’s room to ask her if she knew where they were, but she had no idea either, so she offered to call the cleaning ladies and ask them. We told her this was not necessary, but she told us that she “went back in the day and had the best time of her life. You girls WILL go sledding tonight!!” Mom proceeded to call each and every one of the house staff (Lisa and Suzie the cooks, Jim the handyman, and Kelly and Linda the cleaning crew—the whole gang). No luck. So we did what any good Purdue student does: we improvised. Grabbed the biggest trash bags we could find and headed out the door with a camera in hand.

Needless to say we had one of the best study breaks of the whole year! Now… I should probably go do that microbiology…

p.s. the sleds were found this morning in one of the upstairs closets. Figures.