Anyone coming to Quinnipiac drives past that little white house on the right. For many, it really has no significance; it’s just a small part of the expanding Quinnipiac property. However, the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University is a force within the community promoting its educational and voluntarism programs.
A question that comes to the mind of many is, “What is the Albert Schweitzer Institute?” The institute was founded in 1984 as the Albert Schweitzer Memorial Foundation, and officially became affiliated with Quinnipiac in 2002. It is named after Albert Schweitzer, a physician who is best known for providing care to under-privileged patients in Gabon, a country in Africa. Schweitzer won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his humanitarian work in his field. He believed that people had to consider the impact of their activities on the world, especially on the earth, animals and each other. He was a man of many talents, and dedicated his life to serving others.
Quinnipiac brings Schweitzer’s philosophy to life through the institute by providing several different national and international programs to students and faculty dedicated to humanitarian efforts and helping those in under-privileged areas.
Currently, the Albert Schweitzer Institute offers students the ability to go on alternative spring break trips to help developing countries. The most popular trips that are offered go to Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Each year, students attend information sessions and submit applications to get a spot into this very competitive program. Though they go to these countries year after year, students get to experience different things each year. Last year, students who went on the Guatemala trip got to stay with host families and teach Guatemalan school children English. They also helped the community by planting trees.
Nicaragua also offers a similar experience. Students chosen to go on the program stay with host families, and are able to really get a sense of what it is like to live in that community. Students also got to build a pavilion outside of a school and interact with the children there.
For those interested in helping out others while also experiencing a different culture, the Albert Schweitzer Institute is full of opportunities. It is an alternative way to get the “abroad experience” without spending a semester in a different country.
Schweitzer’s philosophy on “reverence of life” is lived on through many Quinnipiac students and faculty who are dedicated to helping the local community, as well as others in need throughout the world.