Humphrey, Students Represent at Clinton Global
Initiative U.

The efforts of Shawn Humphrey and his students to fight poverty are earning attention far beyond the University of Mary Washington campus. This spring Humphrey was chosen as one of 30 people to serve as mentor at the three- day Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), which was held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “I got the opportunity to communicate with some really incredible people,” Humphrey said. Among them were a young woman from Afghanistan and a man from the Maasai tribe in Kenya. “I love the idea of being able to connect with a young person who is doing incredible work,” he said. “You can’t buy that.” CGIU was launched in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton to bring together global leaders and activists to develop and implement solutions for some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as public health, human rights, and poverty. The 2012 session, held for three days in late March, brought together about 1,000 students from around the … [Read more...]


La Ceiba La Ceiba is a collegiate microfinance project that provides financial, social, and educational support to small- business owners in Honduras. Founded by Humphrey and his students, La Ceiba operates on the premise that the path out of poverty begins with bottom-up market-based initiatives that create stable wage-earning employment. La Ceiba partners with the UMW Department of Economics and Students Helping Honduras.   Two Dollar Challenge (TDC) In 2006, Humphrey gave his Principles of Macroeconomics class the challenge to live for one week on only $2 a day, an everyday way of life for many in the world. For his 2008 Economic Development class, the challenge became the “Living on $2 a Day” project to raise seed capital for the La Ceiba microfinance initiative, and it caught on across UMW. Today, the “$2 a Day Challenge” has spread to about 20 campuses. Participants choose a cause, select a partner, set a monetary goal, and live on $2 a day for one week; TDC provides … [Read more...]

Making Change

Professor takes on-the-ground approach to economic development

Shawn Humphrey came to UMW seven years ago, 34 years old and a freshly minted associate professor, ready to teach his young charges what he calls the “very beautiful” theories of economics. “As economists, we try to create these mathematical models to explain why things are the way they are,” he said. What he didn’t bring was an answer for a sharp question asked by a few students in his first comparative economics class. They had been working in poor communities in Honduras, as part of Students Helping Honduras, SHH, a nonprofit group started at UMW by Shin Fujiyama ’07. The students wanted to know, how do we change the way things are? “They started challenging me,” Humphrey said. “They asked, ‘How do your lectures prepare me for helping others?’ I never had an answer for them. I was like, ‘Who are these people?’ ” In the same way that the experience in Honduras had changed the students, their question changed Humphrey. What distinguishes him as a teacher is his willingness … [Read more...]

Through Hike Helps Kids Heal

The mountains are where Andrew Eaton ’07 can always go to test his own limits with a long hike or a difficult climb. Last summer, it’s where he met up with some kids facing far tougher challenges. Eaton was a counselor at a camp for children who had suffered serious burn injuries and were trying to recover from their physical and emotional wounds. One 11-year-old boy, he said, was at the Estes Park, Colo., camp just a few months after suffering severe burns. He went backpacking with Eaton and other campers. “We had to have a nurse on the trip who changed his bandages every night,” he said. “But he was the happiest kid, so happy to be hanging out with the older guys. It really affected me.” Now Eaton, 27, is trying to raise money to help burn camp programs. He’s in the middle of a 2,180-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail and has a goal of raising $10 per mile. He’s working with Peaks for Peace, a group formed last summer by two of Eaton’s fellow camp counselors who also were … [Read more...]