Arete contribution submitted by Callie Mobley
How did you spend last summer? Probably relaxing, catching up with friends and family, or perhaps taking a few summer courses. Last summer fifteen Honors College students and Phi Gamma Delta, also known as FIJI, fraternity members decided to spend their summer doing something for others. The group traveled to Haiti with Edge Outreach in order to install and instruct locals in the use of water purification systems.
The project was headed by Cody Hutchins. Fundraising started early and encompassed a wide range of events. These activities included “roadblocks” (asking drivers for donations at stoplights), NCAA and NFL bracket competitions, a hot chocolate stand, and shoe drives. Hutchins was very moved by the support felt on campus, saying, “Not everyone got to go, but they were all excited to see us go.” Donations were also given by businesses and FIJI alumnus, which increased the total amount raised to $35,182.12.
The group attended several training sessions prior to the actual trip, which took place from June 1st to the 10th. Among the participants were Ben Aroh, Mason Bramer, Brian Campbell, Griffin Fruge, Cody Hutchins, Chris Kenny, Sam Knott, Kyle Stewart, and Spencer Wright. Over the course of ten days, water filtration systems were installed in three towns: Port Au Prince, Mirbalais, and Grand Goave. Not only did they install these systems, but also spent a day teaching influential community members how to use them. Hutchins remarked, “We made teachers out of common people.” This group was the first from Edge Outreach to include the teaching element and they felt that it was very successful.
Water resources were not the only thing enriched. Those involved experienced personal growth and a new found sense of camaraderie with their FIJI brothers. Participant, Luke Sparks, said, “It was really rewarding, especially since it was with all the guys from our fraternity.”
The journey to help others doesn’t end here. The FIJI brothers are considering another trip next summer and hope to experience the same enthusiasm from WKU students and the community.