The start of college is indeed a daunting one. With hundreds of student organizations to choose from, freshman and transfer students often feel lost and confused during the orientation process. However, student organizations are a good way not only to make a positive social impact, but also to meet people with similar interests. College organizations fighting global poverty are popular among students, and the opportunities they offer can enrich the college experience.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a well-known nonprofit which focuses on the idea that everyone deserves proper shelter. Campus chapters are student-led college organizations that primarily engage with local poverty-stricken areas. The four functions of direct service, fundraising, advocating and educating guide nearly 500 campus chapters. Each chapter must partner with a local Habitat organization and be charted by Habitat for Humanity International to be officially recognized. The chapters also offer a Collegiate Challenge. In this volunteer program, a group of five or more selects a location and builds a home over the course of a week.
The United Nations Children’s Fund works in over 190 countries to continuously improve the lives of children in impoverished areas. Specifically, UNICEF Clubs is a grassroots movement that believes the U.S. must play a vital role in children’s rights advocacy. These clubs aim to train students to think and act as global citizens, crafting the skills necessary to support the most vulnerable groups.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has a number of opportunities for students. One example is the Red Cross Clubs, which hold regular service projects and leadership training to benefit members and their communities. Internationally, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts and health epidemics. On top of this, they also preemptively prepare communities for future disasters and perform health-related services in remote areas. Other opportunities include 10-week internship programs for undergraduate and graduate students.
ONE Campus is an action-focused college organization designed specifically for college students. It mobilizes students around the nation to fight extreme global poverty. Additionally, it strives to combine the crucial elements of advocacy campaigns with the energy and activism unique to the college experience. Unlike other college organizations, it exclusively targets advocacy and campaigning strategies to help polish skills for those interested in government relations and funding. Working closely with African activists, ONE Campus brings a community of young activists together to fight corruption and prioritize global poverty relief funding.
Human Rights Brigades
For those interested in law, the Human Rights Brigades is an international legal empowerment team with campus chapters. It helps families in rural areas that may not have access to the resources available in more populated areas. Specifically, it provides financial resources and legal education for remote and vulnerable communities in Panama and Honduras.
Students often find that doing meaningful work at a nonprofit educates them about advocacy and sharpens their awareness. The Borgen Project offers part-time, three-month internships year-round for students in a number of categories, from Political Affairs to Journalism Internships. More information can be found here.
Joining any of these college organizations fighting global poverty can bring students closer together and implement positive global change at the same time.
– Elizabeth Qiao