Washburn receives UN Millennium Fellowship

Matthew Self and Abbie Barth, Senior Editor

This past Sunday evening, Washburn students who are members of the United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network’s Millennium Fellowship program met to discuss important issues facing the world today.

The Millennium Campus Network is a semester-long leadership development program that convenes, challenges and celebrates student leadership for UN goals. Fellows will act to help make the Sustainable Development Goals and United Nations Academic Impact Principles a reality. For the class of 2019, students applied from 1,209 campuses across 135 nations. Only 6% of the campuses were selected to host Fellows for 2019, and Washburn was one of them.

Washburn’s fellowship will be focusing on five principles: good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality and climate action. Their attention will focus on peace, justice and strong institutions. They hope that focusing on these principles will have long-term positive effect on Washburn’s campus.

In the press release about the Millennium Fellowship, Sam Vaghar, executive director and co-founder of MCN, shared the goal of the program.

“On every campus and in every community, student leaders are committed to making positive contributions while committed to our ethos: empathetic, humble, inclusive leadership. Emerging leaders need requisite training, connections, and recognition to deepen their social impact as undergraduates and throughout their careers,” said Vaghar.

During the meeting, the eight fellowship members met to run through hypothetical scenarios regarding things that can be improved in our country. They also talked about their fellowship projects. The scenarios and activities pertained mostly to the 17 goals of the organization that deal with acting against climate change, ending poverty, reducing inequalities and inciting peace and justice around the world. These goals also tied in to their projects, which focused on meeting at least one of the goals set forth by the UN.

One of the projects of the organization on campus is headed by Emma Staats, Sydney Frantz and Hannah Kirby. It is centered around the objective of providing free feminine hygiene products on campus and defeating any negative stigmas around menstruation and other aspects of female hygiene.

“The project is called Free Period. There is a lack of access to feminine hygiene products on campus, but there are free condoms. We saw a disparity in gender there. Sexual health is very important obviously but why are there free condoms when it’s not contributing to a necessary bodily function as opposed to something that happens whether you want it to or not.”

The fellowship projects that each of these students are working on will benefit people in the local community and Washburn’s campus. It is likely that each fellowship member will go on to solve larger problems later in life for the benefit of thousands worldwide.

Edits by Shelby Hanson, Jason Morrison, Jessica Galvin