Boiler WAY Out - St. Louis
Boiler Out! is a program designed by Purdue staff to integrate international and domestic students in projects that take their focus off of themselves by concentrating on the needs of others. It has been highly successful in accomplishing the goal of helping others while building camaraderie and a sense of belonging.
Fourteen students and staff gave their time over Spring Break to help others during a Boiler WAY Out! trip to St. Louis, Missouri. Included were eleven Purdue international students from China, Malaysia and Rwanda, two domestic recent graduates who served as leaders, and a staff member from International Students & Scholars. The final destination was the small Missouri town of Scott City, near St. Louis. Here, there were many needs and many opportunities for our students to help others.
Besides the obvious of helping those who needed help, student goals included learning new skills; interacting with people in a small town culture; presenting information to the locals about their home countries; and learning to accept people different from themselves by traveling with the diverse group. Skills were taught by a qualified professional contractor, who joined the group for this purpose. A local church provided the necessary tools and materials.
Students took on different roles. Some helped prepare meals, others painted homes, some picked up debris, and others engaged in carpentry to build an emergency exit stairway. All those who were helped were low socio-economic status. Throughout the trip, despite snow and cold, the group remained positive and energetic.
“Throughout the week, I felt really good that I was given the chance to help the local community at Scott City. It was more like a ‘giving & taking’ experience for me, as I learned and experienced a lot throughout the process. Knowing new people and forming new friendships were definitely another high for me.” Says student Ying Ying from Malaysia.
Jack from China adds, “In Team Bulldozer, everyone was focusing on the process. I had never used any saw before, but now I am really good at that.”