• Social Innovation Fellowship

Award Year 

Millenium Campus Network

More than one billion people worldwide live in extreme poverty, lacking access to basic education, health clinics, safe drinking water, and sustainable agricultural methods.  By working closely with the Millennium Campus Network (MCN), a national network of university student organizations dedicated to the reduction of global poverty, I am employing a grassroots campaign on campuses across America to increase awareness of extreme poverty amongst students as well as to urge our government re-examine its foreign aid policies and commit tangible action towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the United Nations Summit in September 2010. The purpose of this campaign is to activate a movement of university students in favor of solid commitment to ending global poverty. Through grassroots outreach and the creation of a significant digital footprint, I will reach out to students on college campuses around the country and empower them to cause immense social and political change. This campaign will harness the passion and drive of young Americans to focus on changing the world they live in. I will utilize the MCN’s connections to launch a multi-layered campaign that works with students in three ways: facilitating activism, increasing awareness and gathering support for the MDGs, with the ultimate goal of creating a student presence at the Summit. In addition, an online petition directed towards President Obama will outline the need for solid political commitments, specified by the United Nations, in the fight against poverty. By signing the petition, individuals will advocate for action and commitment to the MDGs to President Obama. It will be presented to the Obama Administration in mid August, in advance of the President’s speech at the MDG summit. I hope to structure the campaign around giving students the tools to speak out and amplify their voice.

Personal Statement

It was less than three years ago that I travelled to Malawi, Africa, a trip that was both inspiring and incredibly challenging. I returned to America disappointed that I had not accomplished more during my time there, but invigorated with the true sense that I still had a job to do. When I came across the Millennium Campus Network (MCN) in Boston this past fall, I knew I’d found a way that I, as a student, could encourage and promote international development.  This was such an exciting discovery for me; the way MCN aims to maximize the impact of students’ efforts towards achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was something I viewed as truly innovative. I saw the MCN as a mid-way point between the top and the bottom, the “connector.” However, I still wanted to strengthen the efforts towards the top. I received the opportunity to expand my impact when I was asked to lead the MCN’s next national advocacy campaign across college campuses. To me, this was terrifying and thrilling all at once; my chance to truly work at the intersection of international development politics and efforts in the field. I took the opportunity and freedom afforded to me by the MCN and I have been utilizing their impressive connections to develop my own “grassroots” campaign.