Urban Plunge is an opportunity for new Xavier students to delve deep into issues concerning poverty, particularly the accessibility of health care, in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.  By living simply together with other fellow Xavier students for a weekend, we will truly immerse ourselves in experiential education on social justice issues through visits to different agencies, listening to speakers, and actively exploring the neighborhood.  In addition, small group discussion and reflection will encourage us to ask crucial questions about poverty and homelessness, as we all struggle to understand some causes of inequality and injustice exemplified in Over-the-Rhine.

Over-the-Rhine is a dynamic historical district of downtown Cincinnati undergoing many changes to the landscape and population of the neighborhood. In recent past, the OTR was poorly labeled as an impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhood, but recent urban development attracts a wide variety of new people, changing the perceptions and overall feel of the district.

The Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless will provide many resources to guide our exploration of the poor’s access to healthcare.  As co-leaders of this retreat, we understand that many issues beyond health care contribute to the wellness of an individual or community, but for this weekend we will focus primarily on the healthcare services in Cincinnati.

While this retreat is not meant to provide all of the answers to poverty and homelessness in Cincinnati, we hope to be able to leave the weekend with many questions and create a community in which these issues may be discussed.  As your leaders we look forward to not only guiding you but learning with you as we experience the weekend together.

The retreat will take place November 2-4.  Registration forms can be found online or in the CFJ office (GSC 310).  Cost is $30, financial assistance is available.

– Brooke Eastman and Michael Murray
Michael Murray studies Economics and Mathematics and also volunteers by helping kids to express themselves through music. He enjoys trying to convince the cats on campus to love him and will never give up until he succeeds.

Brooke Eastman is a Spanish speaking environmental science student facing her final year here at Xavier.  You will likely find her riding her bike around town or exploring the different parks and neighborhoods of Cincinnati (look for the basket and listen for the bell).  She enjoys sharing her love of Cincinnati and delicious vegetarian meals with others.