Three years ago, I would never have imagined that I would be working here at the ONE office. During my freshman year at Clark University, I couldn’t tell you the difference between USAID and GAVI.
But that all changed the second semester of my freshman year, when I joined Clark’s ONE Campus chapter and later became the leader of that group. I learned firsthand how our work as advocates has a direct impact on the world’s poorest, and familiarized myself with the policies behind ONE’s issues.
Now that I’m a junior, I have a few pearls of wisdom that I want to share with freshman ONE members – things that I wish I knew when I was first starting out with ONE. Here are my top 5.
1. Leave your comfort zone.
Expanding your horizons will help you become more aware of the needs of other cultures and communities that are impossible to learn from a textbook. Ashley Horne, a ONE campus member and student at the University of Iowa, also recognized this and augmented her pre-med major with an eye-opening internship at a medical clinic in Ghana.
2. Be informed.
Read the news. Ask critical questions of your professors and yourself. Don’t let one person create your opinion for you. My personal favorite news sites are Al Jazeera, The Atlantic and The New York Times - and don’t forget to stay tuned to ONE.org!
3. Join ONE or another activist-orientated group.
These organizations can help facilitate your activist role and help you become part of a larger movement for change. Check to see if your campus has a FACE AIDS, Amnesty International or Save the Children chapter. If they don’t, no need to worry! Find out more information here on starting a ONE Campus Chapter at your school.
4. Stay positive and hopeful.
Development is a long process and it’s easy to get discouraged. But if everyone gave up, the cycle of extreme poverty would grow even stronger. Need some inspiration? Check out Bono’s Ted Talk, which shares the positive progress made in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable diseases.
5. Take action.
Once you’re well informed about the most prominent issues and pending legislation that face your country and the world, pressure your representatives to change policy and get yourself out there to fight for what you believe in! ONE Campus members engage in direct action to influence their representatives all the time by tweeting at their members of Congress, collecting photo petitions, conducting in-district petition deliveries, and so much more! Read about the campuses that took the most action during our recent agit8 campaign.