20 June 2018

Millennium Fellowship update: Students making bold commitments

20 June 2018 - The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) initiative and Millennium Campus Network (MCN) have partnered to launch the Millennium Fellowship to convene, challenge and celebrate student leadership for United Nations goals. To date, student leaders on some 140 campuses from 40 nations have submitted applications. The deadline to apply for the Class of 2018 is 15 July 2018 at millenniumfellows.org.

Here are three inspiring initiatives on campuses that have come to the fore in Millennium Fellowship applications so far:

Alma College (United States) is the site of the Millennium Fellowship Project: Big Box Farm for advancing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on responsible consumption and production and the UNAI principle of commitment to promoting sustainability through education. Student leaders there have launched Big Box Farm to meet community needs head-on by developing a small-scale aquaponics farm that is projected to source 390 heads of lettuce and related leafy vegetables and 35 pounds of fish later this year. The produce will be sourced to local food banks. The bolder goal entails purchasing a vacant supermarket lot and converting it into a large-scale multi-level aquaponics farm to provide local produce to the College’s own dining services, local hospitals, food banks and beyond. As Millennium Fellow Brittany Pierce remarks: “The Alma College Model United Nations Team has won top honors at competition in New York City for 22 years in a row. I believe that this project demonstrates that Alma students in Model UN do not simply compete, but they go out into the world and make big, concrete changes to improve communities.”     

At Effat University (Saudi Arabia), the Millennium Fellowship Project: Cyber Security Club aims to advance SDG 5 on gender equality and the UNAI principle of capacity-building in higher education systems. Women are under-represented in the global cyber security workforce. The Cyber Security Club at Effat University aims to provide students who are passionate about cyber security with the requisite education, expansion of knowledge and skills, and encouragement to exchange knowledge and help raise awareness in the community of the importance of internet safety – while introducing more women to the field. Millennium Fellow Majd Al-Sharif shares this about the project: “I plan to organize the first Capture The Flag (CTF) competition for women only in the region next semester at my university, and it's going to be focused on women to raise their competence in the field. Normally, they don't feel the competency in CTF competitions that hosts both women and men, because they are aware that men have been dominant in this field and in the competition, so I decided to make one for women only with an expert support to raise their confidence and self-esteem for competitions that host both men and women.”  

The Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico) is hosting the Millennium Fellowship Project: Ikigai to advance SDG 8 on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all and the UNAI principle of addressing issues of poverty through education. In the community of Lomas Modelo Norte in Monterrey, Mexico, local artisans often lack access to markets and sufficient financial resources to support their livelihoods and families. Ikigai is a business education programme that will be implemented in Lomas Modelo Norte to support artisans in commercializing their handicrafts and reducing their economic vulnerability. Helping them build the capacity of their small businesses means supporting them in effectively managing finances, quantifying in an effective way the material they will use for their products, and calculating the right sale price of their products as well as the minimum sales to generate profits. Millennium Fellow Mayte Guajardo Aspiazu states this about her work: “Empathy is the leadership competency that most applies to me. Being empathetic enables me to connect to and understand other people’s interests and perspectives. It also allows me to understand the story behind another person and to think before making any assumption.”