Confined to our small college campus bubble, we as Georgetown students often find it difficult to influence events happening in the world around us. We often try to make a global impact by forming small, dedicated clubs on campus. However, a lack of manpower or resources can sometimes cause students to fall short of their ultimate service goals. For example, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund at Georgetown has worked admirably to fundraise for materials that might aid the education of Syrian refugee children. However, the UNICEF group feels it could have a greater impact on the lives of refugees if they had access to more resources like those that The George Washington University is currently using to achieve the same mission.
GWU’s Elliott School of International Affairs started an organization in October 2015 called No Lost Generation, a hybrid student government group that works with the close support of the U.S. Department of State to promote access to education for Syrian refugees, increase awareness about the issue and raise both in-kind and financial donations for the cause. Kickstarted by professor Edward Gnehm, who was also former ambassador to Kuwait, and professor Michael Barnett, No Lost Generation GWU utilizes State Department resources, distinguishing it from other student groups in terms of its legitimacy and support.
By partnering with GW, Georgetown’s UNICEF group would clearly be more able to positively influence refugees’ education. Moreover, Georgetown should not stop at refugee education when it comes to external collaboration. All groups on campus should take time to evaluate whether partnering with surrounding universities would benefit their ultimate mission. Georgetown students do not lack a desire to better the lives of others, but they can let their exclusivity interfere with progress. Increased communication and partnerships could double the possible impact of student work –– so Georgetown students should initiate them whenever possible.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.