Read this insightful and entertaining blog by Nuru staff member, Chelsea Barabas:
It was the middle of the afternoon at Bemidji State University and the center of campus looked like a ghost town, save for the dozens of committed students who had shown up to participate in Nuru’s Be Hope to Her. Although the weather was gray and windy, I was impressed to see that almost 100% of the pre-registered students had shown up for the event, huddled around the pile of yellow buckets in the middle of the main student plaza.
Chelsea Froemke, the Bemidji campus coordinator, bit her lip as she looked around at the isolated group of students waiting to begin the walk. It was not yet springtime in Minnesota! The entire student body seemed to be taking harbor from the cold inside the wind-free student center for lunch. Doubts lingered in the air: would anyone witness the long line of students walking in solidarity with the women halfway across the world? Would the buckets even stay atop the students’ heads in this biting wind?
For Chelsea and her planning committee, these doubts were an opportunity to introduce a new element of creativity to their walk. Instead of walking straight to the chilly shore of Lake Bemidji as planned, the BH2O+ participants took a detour through the busy student union, safe from the wind, but fully exposed to the largest population of students socializing between classes. The walk was a success.
Similar instances of creative, determined leadership occurred all over the country last week. The organizers at Ohio State lead students on the longest walk of any BH2O+ event despite rain, lightning and administrative barriers to walking on campus. Participants at the University of Florida gathered water from small kiddy pools when the planning committee discovered that there were no natural water sources that could be safely used (the alligator is their mascot for a reason!). UC Boulder’s coordinator created an entirely new student organization, Students Against Poverty, when her campus administration threatened to withhold permission for the event due to a lack of official sponsorship by a campus group!
This kind of innovative determination is exactly the kind of approach Nuru embraces in every sphere of its operations. Whether in the project site in Kuria, Kenya or in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh, Nuru depends on creative, determined thinkers to accomplish its goals. Be Hope to Her 2010 has revealed that our team is really expanding here in the States. Thanks to all the organizers of BH2O+ 2010, we continue to build an increasingly strong link between our efforts abroad and our communities at home. You guys rock!
About Kim Do
Kim served Nuru International for eight years in marketing, branding, communications and special events. She counts it an honor to spend the best hours of her day fighting to end extreme poverty. Follow her on Twitter at @bykimdoRead More Stories of Hope