Upper Iowa University students and their teachers will volunteer in Haiti as part of a May-term course.
FAYETTE, Iowa (May 5, 2010) – Ten Upper Iowa University students will travel to Haiti May 11-18 as part of their May-term course, The Culture, People and Economics of Haiti, and be involved in several service projects while on the island. The elective course is taught by Dr. Eric Eller, associate professor of international business, who will accompany the students along with Kit Klepinger, coordinator for international programs,
According to Eller, the students will study all aspects of Haiti as part of the course; but the trip allows them to experience the island firsthand, see the earthquake devastation for themselves, and make a difference through volunteerism.
“The need in Haiti is overwhelming due to the earthquake,” said Eller. “The government reports that over 230,000 have died while approximately 2,000,000 are homeless, living in tent cities where there is little clean water or decent sewage facilities.”
Travel arrangements for the class were made through Partners in Development (PID), an organization designed to help those who are extremely poor to attain independence and improve their lives. PID has been working with the Haitian people for the past 10 years; but since the January 12 earthquake, they have undertaken an extensive, long-term relief effort in Haiti.
“We will mostly be doing construction work, clearing rubble and building shelters,” said Eller. “Several local pharmacies—including Scott Pharmacy, Fayette, and Steege Pharmacy, West Union—have put together a variety of medical supplies for us to deliver while we are down there.”
Upper Iowa University provided the class with funds from a UIU Faculty Internationalization Grant to help underwrite students’ expenses. The students also held several fundraisers to pay for their trip. The students are discussing their experience on Facebook, and students Caitlyn Finger and Aishath Zeena plan to blog about the experience at http://upperiowauniversityblogs.org/.
“The service learning at the core of this class embodies the UIU mission of developing global citizens,” Eller said. “These students will have an experience they will never forget and the hope is that they will take what they learn here and apply it for the rest of their lives.”
“Rebuilding Haiti has just begun, and we all feel privileged to be part of that effort,” he added.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to over 6,600 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.