Students take to Millennium conference

Andrew Timothy

Several Quinnipiac students elected to represent Quinnipiac at the Millennium Campus Network’s (MCN) “Millennium Campus Conference 2010” last weekend in New York City.

MCN’s “Millennium Campus Conference” is a biennial forum where over 1,000 students from schools across America and the world congregate in order to move closer to fulfilling the UN Millennium Development Goals. Those goals include eradicating global poverty, promoting education, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and combating disease worldwide.

Held at Columbia University, the MCC consists of speakers and workshops designed to help students hone their leadership skills, interact with leaders, and network with other like-minded students. Marquee names such as former President Bill Clinton, former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Queen Rania of Jordan addressed the conference via video speech.

Speakers also included Ambassador Rick Barton (U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council in the UN) economist and professor Jeffery Sachs, special advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Dr. Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineer Without Borders, and Bobby Bailey (founder of Invisible Children) amongst over 50 others from various organizations and universities. Representatives from organizations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, Millennium Promise, All Girls Allowed, and OECD addressed students over the three day duration.

“The MCC really opened my eyes to all the work this generation must do so that we may live in a sustainable world free of conflict and full of prosperity,” junior Alexandra Isabelle said.

The leadership workshops entailed learning about effective fundraising practices, managing leadership transfer, recruiting and retaining membership, and the importance of community investment in development projects overseas pertaining to subjects such as education, health, policy, economics, or environmental sustainability. The conference also hosted a career fair at which various national and international NGOs were available to prospective employees and interns.

Sophomore Ashish Silwal organized the delegation, and carried out the preparations for the stay.

“Coming from Nepal, my country experiences the vast gap between the privileged few and the impoverished many, alongside the bitter conflict which are so prevalent around the world today,” Silwal said.

QU’s awareness of the global community has increased as evidenced through new campus organizations like Invisible Children and Global Affairs Association. Silwal sought Quinnipiac students dedicated to furthering global prosperity.

“The MCC gave us the chance to learn new skills from accomplished global leaders, which are necessary in order to positively impact our world,” Silwal said. “The voluntary attendance at the MCC further shatters the myth of Quinnipiac as an ‘apathetic’ campus, furthering my pride in Quinnipiac.”

For some, the trip evoked emotion.

“Amongst the most memorable and touching moments was when a South Korean Columbia student shared his mother’s story: one about dependence on USAID when she was a child, due to the lack of food at schools,” junior Jamar Paris said. “This motivated him to give back to America and the world by fighting hunger, which he mentioned despite his self-consciousness of his English skills.”

The trip demonstrates that global awareness is a continuing pattern rather than an election year trend.

“Last May, I went to Nicaragua with my political science class. It was an eye opening experience,” senior Zach Abrams said. “I decided to attend the Millennium Campus Conference because I wanted to meet more like-minded students who are energized in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in order to help the disadvantaged, as I saw in Nicaragua.”

The students who attended were Ashish Silwal, Zachary Abrams, Dennis Ampadu, Esther Chow, Alexandra Isabelle, Cathleen Janeczko, Jacob Myer, Jamar Paris, and Bethlehem Ramet.