Living the Haitian experience: Lynn students will forgo modern amenities, live in the center of campus for one week

Students will build, live in and then disassemble pre-fab Food For The Poor home during week to raise awareness

Published Apr. 02, 2009

A group of Lynn University students will go without electricity, running water or even cell phones for an entire week later this month as they live in a shelter they will build at the center of campus. The goal is, through several events April 13-17, to raise awareness about the plight of Haitians living just an hour’s flight away from Boca Raton.

The participating students are all members of Students For The Poor, a campus group organized in support of Food For The Poor, the international nonprofit dedicated to alleviating hunger and suffering in Haiti and elsewhere. The house they will be living in will mirror two others that Lynn students have raised money for and erected over the last year.

Gary Martin, Lynn’s associate dean for student wellness, has led one trip to the country with Food For The Poor. He says this is the first time a group aligned with the nonprofit is doing an event of this kind. It’s an idea that came directly from Lynn students.

“This was their idea; something they wanted to do,” he said. Groups of Lynn students have spent their last two Spring Breaks in Jamaica and Haiti working on behalf of Food For The Poor. And two dozen students were in Jamaica with the group for two weeks during Lynn’s new January Term this year.

“So many of them come back changed by these experiences,” Martin says. “They’re hungry to help their fellow students see what they saw, and experience what they experienced. They can’t do that from here, necessarily, but I think with this week they’re hoping to give them at least a glimpse.”

The week will start with the building of the house, a pre-fab building that will be supplied by Food For The Poor and built by students in the Perper Plaza, located outside of the Lynn Student Center at the heart of campus (building is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 13). Four students will stay in the house for an entire week, and will subsist off of a typical Haitian diet. They will leave the house only to attend class and occasionally, to shower at a nearby residence hall.

Also during the week, students will host a 5K Walk/Run on Wednesday, April 15, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Students will  simulate traveling the distance from campus to Haiti by team walking a predetermined campus route until they reach a combined 1,000 miles. The Lynn Runner’s Club will join them and donations will be solicited.

On Thursday, April 16, at 6 p.m., Students For The Poor members will host a forum on campus to discuss their experiences in Haiti and Jamaica. Food For The Poor Executive director Angel Aloma will be on hand to address the group as well.