A college student at Brigham Young University – Hawaii with a ONE photo petition. Photo credit: ONE at BYUH
Ever thought about how you can make a difference in reducing extreme poverty, fighting AIDS or providing electricity throughout sub-Saharan Africa? Check out this testimony from ONE Campus intern Anthony Noble. Anthony’s involvement with ONE began at Brigham Young University – Hawaii, where he was a ONE campus leader and led his team to win the ONE Campus Challenge in 2013.
School might be done for the summer, but that doesn’t mean that the efforts of ONE Campus are over. Extreme poverty still affects millions of people every day, and you have the power to speak up to help fight for the world’s poorest.
But why should you? Because the experience is worth it, your voice is being heard and the proof speaks for itself.
I remember getting started with ONE my junior year at Brigham Young University- Hawaii. I found out about ONE because there was a meeting on campus introducing the “fight to end poverty.”
During the meeting there was a video that touched me called “Why Bother?.” The video featured children mentioning common arguments that most Americans cite against foreign assistance. At the end of the film, there was proof of how effective these lifesaving programs can be, even though it uses less than 1 percent of the US budget.
The video made me reflect on the places that I have traveled in Africa, where I saw first-hand the effects of extreme poverty. After viewing the video, I signed a petition showing my support for the fight against extreme poverty. I was struck that ONE wasn’t asking for my money, only my voice.
While the video was encouraging, I wondered how my one voice could make a difference. Nevertheless, I knew I had to do more.
Anthony Noble with children in Lesotho. Photo credit: Anthony Noble/ONE
My first time helping out with a Campus Challenge was a bit nerve-racking because I asked students to sign a photo petition while they were rushing to class. On a little whiteboard I wrote, “I care about the world’s poorest people” and I was shocked how many people were willing to take the time to listen to what I said and take a photo for the petition.
Going to the ONE Power Summit – a four-day advocacy training for ONE members in Washington, D.C. — in 2012 was amazing. It was incredible to meet students from across the nation as passionate about fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease as I am.
During the Power Summit, I had a chance to meet Senator Daniel Inoyne, D-Hawaii, to share ONE’s message on extreme poverty and preventable disease. It was a bit scary for me because I wasn’t sure what to say. After that meeting, I saw that our representatives are people just like me, who care about helping others but need the encouragement of their constituents in order to act.
Constituents of Hawaii meeting with Senator Inoyne. Anthony Noble is second from the left. Photo credit: ONE Hawaii
So why bother? Because our individual voices matter.
When we combine our voices, we send a loud and powerful message to our world’s leaders. We need to speak up in support of lifesaving programs that are working, like US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR ).This year is the initiative’s 10th anniversary, and already 1 million babies have been saved from being born with HIV.
The lessons I’ve learned through being a campus leader have changed my life and I encourage every college student to get involved either at your campus or in your community. Remember that one person can make a difference, one campus can have an impact and one nation can make change.