I am Parantap Tripathi, a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering. When I heard about Project Cahir and what it does, my first question was does poverty exist on campus. Poverty is something that I don’t hear about much at the college level. After some intense research, I started to see and understand what poverty means for a college student.
To most of us, college students, a degree is emblematic of a shot at the American Dream. From earnings to overall life satisfaction, a college education is a life changing experience. College doesn’t just have private benefits; it is a powerful tool to create a civically engaged, healthy and financially independent society. The American government realized the benefits of college long ago, to the point where the creation of a public university was a requirement to join the country as a state. When passing his sweeping reforms, President Lyndon B. Johnson remarked that education was the antidote to the “tyranny of ignorance” that was holding down those in poverty.
From personal experiences, it is imminent that initially students are not comfortable talking about poverty, especially if they need help. For the student from a low or medium family income has to directly suffer from soaring costs, shrinking financial aid, and underfunded educational programs. These students have worked very hard to reach college and it becomes increasing difficult for them to stay while working to earn their degree. A national statistic of 26% graduation is also an alarming number for students who come are from low-income groups.
There aren’t many chances in one’s lifetime where he or she has a chance to make a positive difference in someone else’s life at the grass root level and Project Cahir has provided me with this opportunity. With Project Cahir, I want to work to make sustainable growth against poverty and make a difference in the Penn State community.