Written by Chris Herman
Willimantic, Conn. -Nicolle Hill, of Willimantic, CT was chosen by Oxfam America to participate in a year-long program designed to educate students on creating realistic solutions to poverty, hunger and social injustice in the global community.
Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. Each year, Oxfam's CHANGE Initiative brings together some of the most committed and gifted student activists in the United States. Students commit to engage with Oxfam for an entire academic year beginning with a weeklong advocacy and leadership training program. This year's training will take place from July 21-27 in Qunicy. MA.
The purpose of the week is to develop students' skills, expand their knowledge of global issues, and provide them with the necessary resources to their campuses so that they can undertake work with a view toward alleviating global hunger and poverty. Key issues discussed at this year's training include food justice and transparency in extractive industries.
This past spring semester, Hill participated in Eastern's Food Justice Committee. The committee distributed food to low income families in the Willimantic area. "I am not sure that people in America fully know how much poverty and hunger is impacting people around the world," said Hill, who is concerned about poverty and hunger afflicting those living in and outside of the United States. "I think that sometimes people just see big numbers, but it does not fully connect to them what those numbers mean. I am hoping that, in my own community, I will be able to show poverty in a more personal and realistic way."
Hill first learned about the Oxfam America CHANGE Initiative through Eastern's Center for Community Engagement (CCE) blog. She says she was immediately drawn to the program and its mission of creating solutions to global poverty and hunger. "I have always been very interested in serving others, making a difference and changing the world. This program will give me the opportunity to do all of that," said Hill.
After working with the CCE and its many volunteer programs, Hill encourages Eastern students to participate in their respective communities and to believe in their own capability of being a change agent. "I firmly believe that everyone is given opportunities to make a positive impact on the world. It does not matter if the action is as small as giving someone a compliment, that action does matter," said Hill. "Being a world changer is a lifestyle. It cannot be something you do every once in a while; it has to be all the time. Paying a compliment to someone may not seem like you are changing the world, but you could be changing the world for that one person, and that is huge."