Hannah Houpt '19

Meet Hannah Houpt, a sophomore at DePauw.  On campus, she is a part of the Restorative Justice club, the Global Partners Program and Pi Beta Phi Fraternity. With RJ, she was able to become Mediator trained.  Hannah is majoring in anthropology and is looking to go into the Peace Corps after college.  Hannah had a great summer volunteering and has an exciting Winter Term planned also!

HC: Hi Hannah! Would you like to tell us about what you did this past summer?

HH: This past summer, I worked with the International Rescue Committee in my hometown. In my local branch, we were primarily responsible for welcoming refugees and their families from the airport, getting them all settled in and more or less integrating them into American society. I scheduled and drove a lot of people to doctor’s appointments and registered all the children for school this fall. I also helped with a lot of donations and helped teach some English classes.

HC: Wow that must have been incredibly rewarding. I heard you did even more though!

HH: I also worked abroad in the Bangkok office and border camps of Myanmar/Thailand. In Thailand, I spent some time in the IRC Bangkok offices but was mostly on the border where I interviewed and took in data about the camps. These camps are really huge and they are growing super fast because not a lot of people want to leave their families, friends and everything that is familiar to them to go somewhere completely foreign, but it's very problematic because funds are being cut. This war that is forcing all of these people to these camps has been going on for decades with no signs of slowing, so a lot of the money is being transferred to helping other humanitarian crises, which will leave these people helpless

HC: What would you say you took away from your work?

HH: I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to work on both the domestic and international side of refugee relief. Refugees obviously don't want to be refugees, so every helping hand counts to moving them forward. It's really easy to ignore the refugee crises when it's an ocean or two away, and you're curled up at home watching TV and drinking hot chocolate. When you're dropped right down in the middle, you realize just how urgent this is, and there's an enormous amount of pressure to do what you can in the time you have.

HC: So, has this experience made you interested in continuing work like this?

HH: This summer made me more interested in becoming an immigration lawyer with a focus on refugees. Next semester I'm taking two super cool classes that sort of relate to that. One is a class on immigration from Mexico and Central America to the United States, and the other is an English class on the portrayal of Arab refugees in film and literature. I think both will be equally as interesting, and I don't think I've ever been so excited for school!

HC; Are you doing anything else for Winter Term?

HH: In January I will be working as a team member with the Start the Heart foundation in Louisville. It's a not-for-profit organization that a DePauw alum started, and we're going to be learning and teaching hands-only CPR throughout the city, mostly working in underserved communities. I'm not at all interested in anything medical, but CPR is a really important life skill to have, and I think everyone should know it. There might come a time when you need to know it, and that's scary either way but especially if you aren’t prepared.

HC: DePauw is so lucky to have someone like you, Hannah! I’m sure you’ve inspired many others to reach out and help.