“I became more aware of not only issues surrounding homelessness and food inequity, but also how we in general and I in particular interact with and think about these issues.”
Destination: Austin, Texas
Awaken in Austin was a unique opportunity to directly engage with issues of homelessness, food equity, and community self-authorship. Participants worked with local organizations including Austin Habitat for Humanity, Urban Roots Farm, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, and Mobile Loaves and Fishes’s Community First! Village. Students stayed at the Firehouse Hostel in the heart of Austin, enabling the participants to experience the city life of Austin. The city of Austin has been driven recently by a younger population and innovative approaches to broad reaching societal issues, which offered a unique space for critical conversation on life, leadership, and the intersection of students’ identities with different approaches to challenging topics. By working with these organizations, students were able to begin putting the conversations into action and reflect on the successes and challenges of doing so.
- “The experience actually going out there and volunteering at all these places, being able to talk to the organization’s founders and beneficiaries, and spending time every night debriefing and discussing what we learned were just such valuable experiences that I couldn’t really have had in the same way in a classroom.”
- “Visiting Mobile Loaves and Fishes was eye‐opening to me in that it taught me about what it means to be chronically homeless, that it involves a catastrophic disruption of one’s support structure.”
- “I became more aware of not only issues surrounding homelessness and food inequity, but also how we in general and I in particular interact with and think about these issues.”
- “The trip also brought up the question of how best to interact with homeless people on the street, how it may be possible to acknowledge their humanity and their dignity, which I don’t have an answer to but I’ll continue thinking about as I move through cities in the future.”