"Poverty Immersion and Simulation"

Waco, TX

September/October and February | Sophomore Classmen


  • Participants will spend the vast majority of time outdoors and should be prepared to walk between 15 - 20 miles over the course of 48 hours. A moderate degree of physical fitness is recommended.

Program Description:

Each semester 12 students and 4 faculty travel to Waco, Texas to participate in programs sponsored by Mission Waco, a leading non-profit organization in Central Texas focused on issues facing the chronically poor and homeless. The organization’s goal is to provide Christian-based, holistic, relationship-based programs that empower the poor and marginalized, mobilize middle-class Americans to become more compassionately involved among the poor, and seek ways to overcome the systemic issues of social injustice which oppress the poor and marginalized.

One of the innovative programs they have developed to help individuals understand some of the complex issues of poverty is a weekend poverty simulation. The goal of the weekend is for participants to develop an understanding of poverty (the condition of having no money, goods, or support with NO power or access) through simulation (the examination of a problem often not subject to direct experimentation by means of a simulating device by touching, seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and walking) that brings about compassion (a feeling of deep sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering) - with the hopes that this compassion brings new insight and purpose to life which is to hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness. It is intended to be a challenging weekend in which participants will be faced with many of the same choices the poor are faced with every day.

Prior to the poverty simulation the team spends Friday during the day learning about poverty in Waco and in the United States. To facilitate these discussions/activities we will partner with various organizations throughout Waco, meeting individuals who have experienced poverty and/or addiction, as well as with individuals and organizations who work to alleviate poverty both locally and globally.

Important Information:

Students who are selected for the trip will be required to complete a few reading assignments and attend three post-trip meetings/service opportunities that are intended to build upon the themes you experience as a part of the trip as well as provide you with concrete ways to put your knowledge into action.

Please direct questions to program coordinators Dr. Riemer ( and Mr. Nava (