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Lighting the Way

CONWAY, Ark. (August 24, 2012) - David Allan arrived on campus for his junior year after working this summer to bring sustainable solar lights to and create jobs for people in Alexandra, a township in South Africa with one of the world's highest population densities.

Allan, a philosophy and economics and business double major, was born in South Africa and grew up in Houston, Texas.

He discovered Hendrix in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives and was drawn to the College for the Odyssey program, which funded his summer work at Rays of Hope, a nonprofit organization in Johannesburg his aunt runs.

"I wanted the opportunity to do really different things and have real-life learning experiences," said Allan, who is the president of TEDxHendrixCollege and plays oboe in the Hendrix chamber orchestra.

Before coming to Hendrix, Allan worked for City Year, an AmeriCorps program. Allan tutored third grade students in an after-school program in Chicago.

"I've certainly been lucky to have had so many cool experiences," he said.

This summer, he lived in the nonprofit's children's home and  wrote a business plan to get 10,000 solar-powered lights made from recycled two-liter soda bottles installed, which would create 20 new jobs.

"It was a great way to look at how people effectively address problem of poverty and see how economics of poverty works on the ground level," he said.

Allan will receive Odyssey credit for professional and leadership development.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. Hendrix was named the country's #1 "Up and Coming" liberal arts college for the third consecutive year by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2011 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 376 colleges and is listed in the 2012 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of 25 "Best Buy" private colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit