Students Start Summer with Service

CONWAY, Ark. (May 31, 2013) – Nine Hendrix students recently returned from a 10-day mission trip to Alaska. The program was sponsored by the Hendrix Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling.

Student participants included:

  • Brandon Cox '16 from Rogers, Ark.
  • Charli Davis '15 from McCrory, Ark.
  • Katherine Dennis '13 from Nashville, Tenn.
  • Johnny English '13 from Youngsville, La.
  • Olivia Goza '14 from Little Rock, Ark.
  • Landon McGarry '13 from Richardson, Texas
  • Robert Nshimiyimana '15 from Rwanda
  • Dakota Pouncey '15 from Holiday Island, Ark.
  • Laura Price '15 from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Students were accompanied by philosophy professor Dr. James Dow and biology professor Dr. Joyce Hardin.

"The students really clicked in a way I haven't seen before," said Hendrix alumna Michaela Fraser, presidential fellow in the Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling, which sponsored the trip. "They spent nearly every night having group sleepovers on the floor of the living room so that they could spend more time together (forgoing the real beds!). And we had such meaningful conversations with locals on a daily basis, which made our evening reflections really deep and thoughtful."

The group discovered some of the special challenges to the delivery of social services that such an environment presents.

"I worked with a team of Hendrix students and faculty at various organizations in and around Fairbanks, Alaska that gave insight into the rugged terrain and harsh elements that Alaskan's face on a regular basis. This ruggedness was quickly witnessed on the first day of the trip when I worked alongside a homeless veteran to help process a moose that mission would later use to feed the hungry in Fairbanks," said Pouncey.

In addition to clearing trails and preparing campgrounds for interdenominational summer camps programs, the group completed service at various non-profit agencies in Fairbanks, Alaska.

"Throughout the time I was there, I realized that my experience with the nature was not a luxury but a necessity of my human spirit," said Nshimiyimana.

Working alongside environmental conservationists, in food banks, and an agency providing services to disabled community members, Davis said, "I went to Alaska expecting to give, but I left Alaska having received more than I gave."

"This trip enabled me to better understand the intriguing relationship between people and the environment, a source of both intrinsic and economic wellbeing to those living in Alaska," Pouncey added.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.