Sunday, April 3, 2011

If you wonder where your kid's tuition money really goes ...

...maybe this will make you feel better.

I have two in college right now: one who determined her path when she was in fourth grade and hasn't taken a single detour, and another who -- like many kids, I think -- has taken a while to decide where life will take him.

This weekend, he gave me a glimpse into where he might be going.

On Saturday, the Iowa State campus looked like this. It was a warm day; most students were outside.

Not all students, though.  Some were in Martin Hall, involved in this.

This was the agenda for the event, which was sponsored by the International Student Council.  It included a  fast from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help students understand what it feels like to be hungry. The rest of the day's events revolved around educating, discussing, and raising awareness for one of the world's foremost problems. 
The students gathered; some, like my son, were members of the ISC, and some weren't.  Everyone interested in helping to alleviate world hunger was invited to participate.

The students played games; this one was designed to help students experience and understand illiteracy.

It was more difficult than it looked. My son, Scott, sitting on the table, was the moderator.

Although the game was challenging, the students enjoyed it. 

A lot of talking went on that day ... and a lot of listening. Students there represented many countries and many different life experiences. Some had experienced hunger; others, like my son, have never lived more than five or 10 minutes from a McDonald's and always have had money in their pockets for a burger.

This game, Market Madness, gave students a glimpse into the corruption often involved with trading, bartering and purchasing in local markets in developing countries. 

A reporter from the Iowa State Daily arrived to ask questions. 

The tone of the day was serious, but the students got to know each other and enjoyed a sense of shared purpose and camaraderie.

Students who could spare a dollar or two contributed to a relief fund for victims of the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

All in all, the day was about the importance of finding ways to provide others with a sense of dignity ... no matter where they live, or how much money they have, or how educated they happen to be.

Sometimes college is about nothing more than deciding what kind of beer you're going to drink that night, and where you're going to drink it. And that's OK. But when you're a parent, hoping and praying for a child to be able to support himself or herself in a meaningful capacity, sometimes you wonder what you can do to provide a little more direction.

The answer, I've found, is: nothing. Have faith, and sit back. And one day, you'll realize that everything he's been saying all along is true, and your child -- the one who can expound on European history, the Bolshevik revolution and Che Guevara the way you can expound on 1970s TV theme songs -- is going to be fine. 

In fact, he's going to help change the world.


  1. sounds like an awesome experience. i'm proud of everyone who participated.

  2. Dear Scott's mum,

    Thanks for posting such a blog and for being with us during the event on Sunday =)