Steven, left, with two ONE members.
Congratulations to Steven William, our ONE Member of the Month for September. Steven, a ONE Campus Leader at the University of Iowa, one of the top 10 schools in the ONE Campus Challenge. In addition to leading multiple organizations on campus, working at a law firm, and being a full-time student, he’s managed to create the largest ONE chapter in the country.
Steven, a senior at the University of Iowa, majors in political science and environmental policy. He’s been active with ONE since he was 14 years old. Let’s get to know more about this inspiring volunteer!
Emily Walker: How did you get involved with ONE/OCC?
Steven William: When I was 14, I met ONE Midwest Director Libby Crimmings and we instantly clicked. Along with two of my best friends, I became very active with ONE during the 2008 elections.
In addition, I feel that I need to do everything I can to make the world a better place. Although many think that one person can’t make a difference, I continue to use that mistruth as fuel to prove others wrong.
If you have the passion and inspiration to continue to support the things you see as important, you will spark a fire in other people and if not – just keep being you. I thought ONE was a perfect place to do all of this!
What are ONE members at the University of Iowa like?
I would have to argue that the ONE members here are some of the most talented people I have ever met. In our first year, our executive board did some amazing things, like host an event with ONE Fellow Michael Gerson, and this year our new board is feeding off of that energy. We’re planning a trip to Tanzania this summer.
What is the most challenging thing about being an activist for ONE and our issues?
I think the biggest challenge I face is the immediate shutdown people express when I begin to talk about the issues happening around the world.
How each one of us experiences life in the West is so far from how the majority of the world does. It’s a challenge to convince people that America should have a strong presence on the international stage when it comes to aid, but I do love a good challenge.
Who inspires you?
I would have to say I get a lot of my motivation and inspiration to dream from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He once shared this beautiful idea:
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
What other activities are you involved with on campus?
I’m the Educational/Lecture Chair of the Global Health club and I’m also a part of a human rights organizations coalition.
What’s your favorite book?
So hard, but hands down I would have to say “The Magicians King” by Lev Grossman.
What has been your favorite experience with ONE?
I would say meeting and spending the evening with Princess Kasune Zulu and her daughter Faith. Princess is a true warrior and hearing her story was inspiring and really helped not just myself, but other ONE members stay motivated to keep supporting ONE’s missions and efforts.
Big thank you to Steven for all the amazing work that she does for ONE. Want to nominate someone for the next Member of the Month? Email Malaka at email@example.com with the subject line, “Member of the Month.”