Senior political science major Ty Buschbom came back to Washburn from a June United Nations conference in Washington D.C. with a mission: bring the U.N. to campus.
“I got a scholarship to go over there, and it was very educational,” Buschbom said. “The second I got home to Kansas I sent an email to Joyce Johnson and I was like ‘I’m kicking around starting a U.N. chapter, would you be interested?’ She was like ‘Let’s do this.’”
Three months later, he has accomplished that goal. It arrives as a new student organization called the WU United Nations Association this semester, aiming to get students involved in their humanitarian programs at a local level. The group is unique in that it is the first college United Nations chapter of its kind in the state of Kansas, and has currently planned its first meeting for Sept. 14 in Henderson 107 at 4 p.m. Buschbom said that the potential for its impact heavily influenced his decision to start a chapter.
“A lot of people can connect to the humanitarian aspect,” Buschbom said. “Also, there are major business opportunities and there’s also international law. The U.N. is not limited to one thing, but humanitarianism is definitely a major thing they do.”
The new group is open to students from any major. When getting started, he said the biggest challenge was recruiting the minimum seven members to start a student organization, but as word got out students poured in quickly.
“[Student Activites and Greek Life] has absolutely been incredible helping me through this process,” Buschbom said. “I’ve never done anything like this before, so everything’s new to me. I immediately reached out on Facebook to people I know, and within two days we had ten people. Now we have 35 members and we’re only three weeks in. It was really organic.”
Students who joined were particularly interested in the U.N.’s aid programs around the world.
“When I told them about the things the United Nations does, I think that really spoke to a lot of people,” Buschbom said. “I explained how they’re saving millions of lives every day. [For example] the U.N. sends doctors and medical equipment over to [third world countries] so women can have higher success with birthrates. There are these wonderful organizations that are actively every day doing something to make the world better.”
Buschbom also praised the student organization’s faculty advisor Patricia Dahl, who he said has been a perfect fit for the role. Dahl, a criminal justice and legal studies professor, said she happy with the progress the student organization has made so far.
“We all seem to be on the same page, and real supportive of each other,” Dahl said. “I am so excited to be working with these students. They’re very passionate about the organization, and sharing it with the campus.”
Dahl also shared some of the events that WU-UNA has prepared for the fall semester. Aside from their debut Sept. 14 meeting, the group is volunteering together at the university’s Sept. 23 Family Day and planning a Nov. 22 fundraiser. WU-UNA will also see U.N. Rep. Tom Sloan and the Climate and Energy Project’s Dr. Kellis Bayless as guest speakers on campus Oct. 24 in celebration of United Nations Day.
Students and faculty interested in joining WU-UNA are encouraged to attend the group’s Sept. 14 meeting, or reach out to Buschbom at [email protected] for more information on the organization.