Saturday, May 23, 2009

Something I learned from Rhodes University

Every other year, students at Rhodes University (where I spent my Rotary Ambassadorial year in 2008) get together and decide on a major philanthopic project they want to take on. Students nominate ideas, they vote, and then they spend two years organizing, working with the community, fundraising, and making it happen. The year I was there, the project was 'Galela Amanzi', or Pour the Water. Essentially, the students at Rhodes are fundraising to build water tanks at schools and community centers in the townships surrounding Grahamstown, where most of the schools don't have reliable water sources.

The thing that gets me is that the project is the student-initiated, student-led, student-run. Its a way for students to change their community for the better RIGHT NOW. And it is the collective energy of the entire university, in conjunction with the community, that makes it happen.

At this moment, I wish I was going to be at University of Denver just a LITTLE BIT longer so I could have time to get something like this geared up.

Or that I was a teacher again and could get some students in gear. How cool would that be to see a high school take ownership of a project like this.

Or what about a middle school?

I'm envisioning: kids forming a team to lead the project, talking to community members to see what is needed (or identifying needs right inside their own neighborhoods), learning about the processes that have to happen to implement, creating a budget, presenting at a city council meeting, utilizing the skills they are learning in class to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Community benefits +

Kids empowered =




Kent said...

Student groups are out there like the Lions LEO Clubs (which are supposed to be self directed with help from an advisor), Kiwanis Key Clubs and Rotary Rotaract that are geared up to do service projects. They just need the idea planted and some leadership to follow through.

Victor said...

Amen, sister.