CFPL Students Put Global Citizenship Skills to Work over the Summer
This summer, JUHAN and Service Learning students continued to make an important mark on their communities – and the world. From the United Nations to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in La Plant, South Dakota, our students were putting their global citizenship skills and knowledge to work.
United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Global Youth Forum
“I was energized and inspired by the brilliant leaders, young people, and of course our Fairfield University delegation,” said Klevisa Kovaci, one of the four JUHAN students who represented Fairfield University at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Global Youth Forum. Ms. Kovaci attended ECOSOC’s “Realizing the Future They Want,” along with fellow students Kaneez Anwar ‘15, Diana Bosch ‘16, and Guadalupe Ramirez ’17. This year’s theme brought the critical voice of youth into the discussion on addressing the challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and shaping the future development agenda.
Klevisa, who has presented at the UN a number of times during her years at Fairfield University, added, “This conference was the perfect way for me to reflect upon my education and future career plans in international relations, especially area specializations that I am most interested in, such as youth leadership and good governance. I am thankful to the Center for providing me and my peers with the opportunity to attend prestigious events such as this, which are so integral to Fairfield University students' academic and professional experience.” (Learn more about Klevisa Kovaci '14’s work with the Center.)
Interfaith Youth Core’s (IFYC) Interfaith Leadership Institute
During the first weekend of summer, a delegation made up of staff from the Center and from Campus Ministry plus students Sohail Sumra ‘15, Guadalupe Ramirez ’17, and Rachel McGee ’15, participated in the Interfaith Youth Core’s (IFYC) Interfaith Leadership Institute in New York City, which trained interfaith leaders to build relationships across identities, tell powerful stories to bridge divides, and mobilize their campuses through interfaith projects. Ramirez, a rising sophomore, noted, “During the Interfaith conference I had the opportunity to meet students from various campuses going through a similar faith experience. The most memorable part for me was listening to student's stories and experiences on why they want to be interfaith leaders. I also learned the benefits of bringing religious experience, spiritual diversity, and service together in campus communities.” This month, the Center will participate in the 4th Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge in Washington and will continue to be a leader on campus in helping to plan interfaith initiatives.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) University Ambassadors Conference
“Attending the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) University Ambassadors Conference was just the inspiration I needed to get excited for the semester ahead,” noted Nicole Davidow '15, the Center’s 2014/15 JUHAN Fellow. In August, Deirdre McElroy '18 joined Davidow for CRS Ambassador training at the agency’s headquarters in Baltimore. In reflecting further on the experience, Davidow noted, “I am so grateful to have met other student ambassasors and to have been provided with the opportunity to establish a supportive and innovative network. I am hopeful that the knowledge, refined skills, and newly established network that we gained will enable the JUHAN student group to become better established on campus and reach out to more of the Fairfield community.” The students, Fairfield University’s first CRS Student Ambassadors, will be responsible for continuing to build JUHAN’s relationship with this important humanitarian agency during the upcoming academic year.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in La Plant, South Dakota
To close out the summer, a group of 11 Service Learning and JUHAN students and Dr. Peter Bayers, associate professor of English, spent a week on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in La Plant, South Dakota through Simply Smiles, a not-for-profit organization that provides bright futures for impoverished children, their families, and their communities. Dr. Bayers ran the trip in conjunction with his Fall 2014 service learning course EN 281: Native American Literature. The students spent their time on the reservation doing home construction projects and running summer camps for children. Upon his return, Dr. Bayers wrote to the students, “From the moment you arrived on the Rez, every breath and every action you took contributed to bettering the lives of the people on the Rez. How beautiful is that?”
Pictured at the UN, left to right: Diana Bosch ’16, Kaneez Anwar ’15, Guadalupe Ramirez '17.