While some Central Michigan University students spent their summers working, lounging pool side or hitting the books, others decided to take a path less traveled.
From taking part in protests to traveling internationally, some CMU students spent their summers doing things others only dream of.
Clarkston senior Anne Drolet is one Chippewa who went abroad this summer, traveling to Accra, Ghana, for three weeks to work with malnourished children.
“We focused on nutrition and public health. We spent the first week doing nutritional assessments in preschools and did a community assessment on a rural village. We also visited the governor of Accra to figure out what they are doing about the nutrition problems,” she said.
Drolet said her experiences this summer are ones she will never forget.
“Working in the hospital has been very memorable. I saw a baby with Kwash. This means the child was so protein deficient that the skin was starting to fall off. It makes you realize how much we take for granted in this country,” she said. “To see how desperate these children are really hits home for me.”
Staying in town over break is always an option, and Mount Pleasant junior Holly Burke chose to make the best of her hometown this summer. While in Mount Pleasant, Burke participated in the March Against Monsanto protest, which took place on May 25 and involved 250 people marching in the city to protest the controversial food production giant.
“We marched against the corporation Monsanto, who controls the majority of the food seed supply. We marched for the labeling of genetically modified foods, and we marched for the future generations, so they have the possibility of at least knowing what is in the foods they eat,” Burke said.
While Burke was tackling social issues here in Michigan, one Chippewa took his message to another state.
Norway junior Chris Bourgeois spent 10 weeks of his summer spreading his Christian faith to students on the University of Illinois’ campus alongside CMU’s RSO ministry organization, CRU & Athletes in Action.
“There are many different ministry projects all over the world. This one in particular was held in Chicago,” Bourgeois said.
Bourgeois said he could have gone home to a steady job this summer, but he decided instead to raise support for his cause.
“I had a choice to make; go home for the summer and have a definite good paying job, or raise support to go to Chicago and help complete God’s kingdom. And I truly felt that God had a reason for me to be there. It was so worth the time and effort to get there,” he said.
Bourgeois has plans to participate in this cause again during the year if his schedule allows it.
“I have to see what school will look like for me as this year rolls on, but I would absolutely love to participate again in the future,” he said.
Raising awareness and funds for people with disabilities through Push American and Pi Kappa Phi, Farmington Hills graduate Spencer Haworth and undergraduate students Rockwood senior Jeremy Osborne and Millington senior Matt Berlin cycled across the country for the Journey of Hope, a 4,000-mile cross-country cycling trip.
Haworth works for Push America and was hired in October. He planned the trip down to the minor details.
“I planned the entire route, from what roads we take to what we eat and where we stay. Our route began in San Francisco, Calif., on June 9, and ended in Washington, D.C . on August 10. The point of this trip was to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities through Push America, which is the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi,” Haworth said.
The 67-day trip included a cycle of 85 miles each day starting from San Francisco, Calif., traveling through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and ending on the Capitol Lawn in Washington, D.C.
“We visited with organizations that serve people with disabilities in the towns where we stayed. After spending time with the participants we presented them with a grant check for them to use towards their organization,” Haworth said.
Although the trip was tiring, Haworth said the bonds he and his teammates made amongst themselves and with community members made the hardships worth it.
“The team is made up of 35 undergrads from across the country, and it’s amazing to see how quickly we bonded,” he said. “It’s a truly an unexplainable bond”