By Kaylee Key, campus leader of ONE Campus at Georgia Regents University
St. Patrick’s Day marked a very exciting day for ONE Campus members at Georgia Regents University. It was our lucky day in which Congressman John Barrow visited our school to echo the importance of fighting global poverty—all because our ONE chapter asked him to. We’re a new student organization on campus this year, and this could not have had a better kick-off event.
Originally, our event consisted of screening “Protest to Progress,” a 30-minute documentary highlighting some of the most powerful protest movements in history. In the weeks leading to the event, we reached out to the office of Congressman John Barrows and extended an invitation to attend our event. Congressman Barrow agreed to hold a meet-and-greet with our executive council and give opening remarks before the film.
On the day of the event I woke up to a calendar reminder saying, “Today is the day that you get to meet Congressman John Barrrow!”
I spent the entire day planning what I was going to say. How I would engage with him when he sat down to meet with us? What would I say to introduce him to the attendees? Most importantly, how would we get him to come back?
The Congressman showed up 20 minutes early and met with the most dedicated members of our ONE chapter. He told us how much he had been hearing about ONE from constituents like us, and that he was excited to partner with us.
He talked about the importance of serving one’s community and struggles convincing people that what he does is important. He referred his efforts as “putting a square peg of ambition into a round hole of opportunity.”
I think that we have all felt this way with our fight to end extreme poverty. For us at Georgia Regents University, it has been particularly difficult to promote bi-partisanship.
Representative Barrow facilitated this dialogue as he spoke to students from both sides of the aisle and political affiliations. He said that because of the work that we are doing, he holds no fear in the capabilities of our generation.
He also quoted Margaret Meade, a statement that coincidentally appears in “Protest to Progress,” by saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
With a room full or energy and students inspired to take action, we concluded the event with a letter action, writing to members of Congress about the importance of Electrify Africa Act.
At that moment we put a round peg of ambition into a round hole of opportunity.