Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Soaking up the Sun in Haiti

Haiti has been in the minds of people for weeks, since the January 12 earthquake. The new angle that CNN article "College Students Heading for Haiti" takes is clearly spelled out in the title. Groups from Penn State and Lawrence Technological University are traveling to the country in the upcoming months as their spring break or post-graduation plans. Lawrence Tech students, working with Reconstruction Efforts Aiding Children without Homes (REACH), plan to help lay foundations for two structures. "Project Haiti" from Penn State will be taking clothing and other supplies to children living in the Maison Fortune orphanage in Hinche.

From an editorial standpoint, I immediately want to know if these are the only two universities who have trips planned to Haiti; other universities could easily be recognized in a sidebar. The article provides a wide variety of sources, including students participating in the trips, advisers and even past participants that still work with the projects. I appreciated the array of voices, and the method the article's author used, which allowed sources to basically tell the story in their own words.

From a 20 something viewpoint, I am slightly disappointed in the tone the article takes. Twice the article points out that a "typical" college spring break is partying and lying in the sun (once in a quote from Liz Stock and again when referring to Christopher Harris). While this tone places a spotlight on these students for choosing to travel to Haiti, it makes it seem like all other college students are self-absorbed. Especially with the decision to end with this quote: "I think more people need to stop being selfish and give back to the principles that we're all instilled with from birth. It feels good doing good things." Interesting choice for a kicker quote on an article that is supposed to be focusing on the good deeds of college students, don't you think? Let me know.

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