The heart of Haiti


“What am I doing with my life?”

Morghan Wilcoxson, a freshman international studies major from Columbia City, Indiana, asked this question of herself in high school and during her first semester at Butler University when she struggled to find her passion.

“A lot of people have their passions at their fingertips,” she said. “If you are passionate about basketball, you go play basketball. If you are passionate about knowledge, you read.”

But Wilcoxson found her passion over a thousand miles away–in Haiti.

She made her first trip to Haiti as a senior in high school.

Along with her travel necessities, Wilcoxson brought her appreciation for diversity.

“I want to surround myself with people who think differently,” she said. “You can find so much strength in difference.”

What Wilcoxson experienced was something she did not expect.

As soon as she reached her volunteer location, she said, the Haitian people immediately embraced her and made her feel at home.

“They just love each other, and that is something that opened my eyes,” she said.

Wilcoxson enjoyed her experience so much that she decided to return for the 2015 spring break.

On this trip she was able to help the children in her temporary community, something she said made the experience even more enjoyable.

“Happiness is when I am sitting on the sidewalk, covered in dirt and kids’ snot, teaching them English words,” she said. “I did that for hours upon hours.”

Noah Warfield, a freshman science, technology, and society and engineering major, said Wilcoxson is living out her purpose through her work in Haiti.

“I love to see somebody that actually is motivated to do something and care about it so much,” he said. “She has her own drive and motivation to keep her going.”

Wilcoxson is now working to bring her experiences and her passion for helping heal Haiti back to Butler.

She is planning an individual, two-week trip back to Haiti this summer to interview missionaries and native Haitians to identify the needs of a small village in Briel.

From that research, she plans to create and establish a non-profit organization on Butler’s campus to help supply those needs in Haiti. She hopes to do this by the end of her four-year career as a Bulldog.

Vanessa Malagon, a freshman finance and entrepreneurship major, is proud of Wilcoxson’s work as well.

“She goes deeper into everything to try to understand how you feel, instead of just taking what you tell her,” Malagon said. “That just means a lot. She really cares.”

Wilcoxson realizes the significance of receiving a Butler education to implement a huge plan like this.

“I know that I need this education at Butler to make an impact,” she said. “But I want to move up from being more than just a volunteer for a week.”

An argument could be made that volunteering internationally should not be her main focus because there are plenty of people that need help here in the United States.

Kyle Smith, a pre-physician assistant major, believes it is not about where you serve but how you serve.

“When you go on these mission trips, you are allowing your heart to be touched by those who are less fortunate than yourself,” he said.

Wilcoxson recognizes that not everyone will have her same passion and drive for helping in Haiti, but Jhovana Cervantes, a freshman psychology major, was touched by Wilcoxson’s heart to help.

“Now that I know more about it, I want to volunteer or go down and help with her in the springtime,” Cervantes said.

In general, Wilcoxson hopes to leave a lasting message for students here at Butler.

“You are learning so much, and you have so many skills – do something with it,” she said. “You have so much to give.”