Hick travels to Aruba for senior project volunteering in animal shelter

Rowa+and+Zani%2C+two+six-month+old+puppies+from+Sgt+Pepper%27s+Friends%2C+are+ready+to+be+adopted.+

Instagram, @sgtpeppersfriends

Rowa and Zani, two six-month old puppies from Sgt Pepper’s Friends, are ready to be adopted.

Senior Kate Hick is volunteering at two different animal rescue shelters in Aruba for her senior project. The COVID-19 pandemic played a large role in her decision to travel there.“They have been super safe and have handled the pandemic extremely well. I feel safe going there as their case numbers are very low” said Hick.

Currently, the seven-day average for COVID-19 in Aruba is 16, the total number of deaths is 100.

The high case numbers in Minnesota also affected Hick’s decision to leave the country for her project. Due to Minnesota’s high COVID-19 case numbers, “[…] it would be near impossible for me to do any sort of in-person volunteering in the state” said Hick. For Hick, volunteering in person was a very important aspect of her senior project, “I didn’t want to be a part of an online program, as that would be very difficult to stay interested in” said Hick.

I had no idea that I would be leaving the country for it, and even last year I always imagined that I would participate in something in Minnesota with my friend group”

— Kate Hick

Hick’s love for animals impacted both what she plans to major in next year at college and her senior project. “I have a large amount of love for animals which not only pushed me to choose a biology major, but also to volunteer with them” said Hick. This past year, Hick planned on volunteering at the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minnesota, but the COVID-19 pandemic shut their shelters down to volunteers and visitors. Ultimately, this impacted Hick’s decision to travel to Aruba for her senior project because, “I wanted to continue what I started” said Hick. Outside of volunteering for 20 hours per week, Hick plans to go parasailing, kitesurfing, hiking, and swimming.

Hick’s senior project is much different than she ever thought it would be, “I had no idea that I would be leaving the country for it, and even last year I always imagined that I would participate in something in Minnesota with my friend group” said Hick.

Although this senior project is not one that she had been planning on, the chance to do what she loved was one she could not overlook, “the opportunity came up for me to be able to volunteer in person somewhere and I decided to take it as I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t go” said Hick. Despite being faced with a pandemic, Hick has still found a way to experience new things with her senior project.