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Student Feature of the Month


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Stephen Poynter

Hometown

Eau Claire, WI

Year

Junior

Major

Finance

Minor

Spanish

Mentor

Benita Wagner

Supervisor

Brad Berg


What nonprofit did you work with?

Great Commission Latin America (GCLA)

http://greatcommissionla.com


 

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What did you do for your service-learning?

I and about fifteen people from Cedarcreek Church headed down to Choluteca, Honduras to work with Great Commission Latin America(GCLA) in building a house for a family of eleven in the area. The majority of the work revolved around the actual construction of the house, including shoveling gravel, mixing and pouring concrete by hand, wood work, paneling, and controlling water drainage around the home. The work was pretty difficult, especially with the high temperatures and humidity, but in the end it was worth it!

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What motivated you to choose this project?

To be honest, I didn't go into this project looking to fulfill my service-learning. I had never been outside of the United States and have always wanted to serve others in another country through a mission trip. So when the opportunity was introduced to me through The Edge, an on-campus Christian organization, I went for it! I realized that this was a great opportunity for me not only to serve others, but for me to be able to learn about and expand my knowledge of other international cultures. After I made the decision to go on this mission trip, I realized that this would be applicable for my service-learning requirement. Regardless, I would have gone.

How did you impact your community?

Directly, our efforts helped a family of eleven people increase their quality of life by moving from a house of rotting wood,scrap metal, a collapsing foundation, and poor drainage systems into a house that is safe, dry, and has electricity. The house we built for this family was not large based on American Standards, but they were extremely thankful for what we had created in only one week. I hope that this leads to opportunities for people in the community to get connected with people in the church.


 

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Is your service-learning relevant to your field of study?

As a finance major, this service-learning is probably not directly related to my major, however being a business major I recognize the importance of understanding global markets. This service-learning experience exposed me to a better understanding of the world through language, culture, and other human interactions I observed while in Choluteca. I was very surprised to see that although we live in a totally different country the number of similarities we share with this culture through human interactions, goals, and struggles is astonishing. Additionally, my minor in Spanish was extremely helpful in communicating with families in Choluteca. It was great to be able to understand what they were saying and communicate with them using their native language. Although they spoke fast at times, it was easier to communicate than I would have expected and I think that my linguistic skills have improved with the face-to- face conversations as a result of it.

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Would you recommend this to other students?

I would recommend this to students who are up for a physically demanding challenge. There were some difficult eight hour days during the week, but it was definitely worth it. I would recommend doing something that fits you. There are tons of great projects in the Eau Claire area and beyond; it's about finding what fits you best. 

 

How would you summarize the experience in one sentence?

I am going to borrow the lyrics from the song "It's Good" by Sidewalk Prophet to sum up my experience by saying, "Love isn't easy but it's good." 


 

What has been your favorite class so far?

Spanish 301

Where is your favorite spot on campus?

Little Niagara Falls

What is your favorite food at the Davies Center?

The stir fry at the Mongolian Grill

What has been your most memorable time at Eau Claire?

The Unified Event this past year