We hope you’ve enjoyed our short series featuring some of the awesome speakers we heard from at the Millennium Campus Conference. After returning from the conference energized and inspired, we’re now busily working on our 7th Annual Silent Auction Reception for Thursday, October 27 6:00-8:30 pm. As our main fundraising event, we invite faculty, alumni, and our peers to support our work by bidding on items while they chat over appetizers and drinks. Our advisor, Professor Muhammad Zaman, will be introducing our work in Zambia in a short presentation.
Like any event, the majority of the details are finalized in the last 3 weeks. As of Thursday, we passed the 2 week mark. A catering menu has been submitted, floor plans designed, and a flurry of advertisement activity. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking piece of the auction is awaiting the arrival of donation items. We’ve been steadily adding to our inventory, but we’re making a last push to contact our local businesses in an effort to win their support. Oh, we fear rejection just like any preteen trying to arrange their first date—excuse our poor analogy, but we are engineers!
However, whether or not we make a million dollars or fifty dollars, we’re really just glad to organize an event to celebrate the work we’re doing and raise awareness of the role engineers have to play in global development. Although…we would definitely be more than happy to take that million dollars. That’s not greedy, right?
We hope to see all of our supporters there, and if you’re interested in attending email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Dig Deeper” -Sam Vaghar
It’s only fitting that we end our MCC 2011 features on the man who started it all, Sam Vaghar. At 25, Vaghar has already spread the Millennium Campus Network to include more than 20 campuses in Boston, New York, D.C., and Chicago since its founding in 2007. By gathering already established student chapters to meet on common ground, Vaghar has created an incredible opportunity for student leaders to network, collaborate, and learn from their peers. In events like the Millennium Campus Conference, its blatantly obvious that these groups are seeking fellowship among others who are struggling to end poverty and accomplish the Millennium Development Goals.
However, when he spoke to the MCC 2011 attendees on Saturday morning at Harvard he asked for more. “Dig deeper,” he stated. While the desire to do good and make change is crucial to our movement, it’s not enough. Settling for the intention isn’t going to make actual progress. Taking it a step further, maybe we can even think about Sam himself. Rather than joining a non-profit or volunteering at a single place, he thought of a bigger picture. He created a way to contribute to global change by helping other students gain access to each other–something that wasn’t really being done in a consisten manner. The effect that MCN has had on the various projects done by its members is uncountable but undeniable.
“How” -Sam Vaghar
After asking students to “dig deeper”, Sam pushed even harder and asked us to think of the “how”. “How do we get results? How do we measure success? How do we implement?” While Vaghar agreed that these were difficult to answer, they are also necessary pieces of our work. Without taking our “why”–the things that inspire us, that fuel us, that sustain us–a step further to planning out the “how”, our intentions are wasted and forgotten. So, while floating in the land of whys may soothe your conscious, it will not contribute to the tangible development of solutions.
“1.4 Billion Reasons” -Hugh Evans
As one of the first speakers at the 2011 MCC Conference, Hugh Evans was a powerful opening act. This Australian Co-Founded the Global Poverty Project and is working to eradicate extreme poverty for the 1.4 billion people still stuck living in these wretched conditions. It’s this number that resonated with us as we sat in the audience in the Kendall Square Marriott.
Utilizing technology as an incredible tool for awareness, his non profit has created a multimedia presentation called 1.4 Billion Reasons in order to “engage and inspire audiences” in the fight against poverty. While his beachesque accent may fool you into thinking he’s happy to saunter along, his words and actions say otherwise. In his presentation, Evans articulated the irrationality of extreme poverty’s prevailing existence. In his words, “the money is there [to end it], but is the will?”
As another arm of his group’s campaign to raise awareness and catalyze action, Global Poverty Project has created a fundraising event called Live Below the Line. A challenge to people across the world to live on under $1.50 a day in order to catch a glimpse of extreme poverty’s reality. Not only does Hugh Evans act as a major figurehead of the Global Poverty Project, but Hugh Jackman, another native Australian, has stepped up to the plate to help end extreme poverty. As a member of the group’s Global Activation Advisory Panel, he’s visited the UN with Evans, presented on the Global Poverty Project’s mission, and even filmed a short clip for the Live Below the Line challenge.
“Don’t Apologize for Being Unreasonable” -Hugh Evans
In his final words as the evening concluded, Evans offered one final piece of advice, “Don’t apologize for being unreasonable.” While the rest of the world may say we’re asking for too much too soon, Evans emphatically disagrees. It’s not too fast. It’s not too much. “There are 1.4 billion reasons,” he reminds us. Extreme poverty has no place in the modern world. Our fellow human beings are being subjected to unimaginable circumstances–circumstances that make a $1.50 daily budget a reality. So we’re justified for seeking an “unreasonable” label. Evans urged us to push for more for everyone because nobody should live below the line.