SLUG REPORT > Lydia Lambert knows what it means to turn her education into action. The UC Santa Cruz student from Mountain View took a class called “Crisis in Haiti,” which inspired her to join and help build the UC Haiti Initiative (UCHI), a collaboration between the UC and the public university of Haiti formed after the 2010 earthquake.
“My eye was on Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, and I became more interested through the class at UC Santa Cruz,” she writes in an email to GT. “It really opened my eyes and made me want to learn more and more about Haiti and its history.”
Lambert, along with other UC students from Irvine, Los Angeles, and Davis, is currently spending a week in Haiti to gain a better understanding of what role UCHI can take for students in Haiti.
“Our main goals for this trip are to help Akyson Inivèsite pou Devlopman Dirab (students from the State University of Haiti that we are collaborating with) organize themselves and to build a relationship with the students here that we will be working with,” Lambert says. “They are currently working on developing each of the five sections that UCHI focuses on: agronomy and environment, economic development, engineering, health, and law and social justice.”
But the most important part of the trip, according to Lambert, is the opportunity to connect to Haitian students in a more meaningful way.
“They are so passionate about the projects, and I am so glad I am getting the opportunity to get to know them in person, rather than just over email,” she says. “It has been great to hear their visions of where they want this organization to go, as well as learn about their culture and lives. I am really excited ago see how UCHI grows as we are gaining more and more support and getting projects off the ground.”