Spring Student Involvement Fair (Campus) – January 16th (4:00pm – 7:00pm)

The spring student involvement fair was a second opportunity for me and the rest of the other students to find organizations and clubs that we would be interested in participating in. It allows for students to get to know more information about some of these orgs. Considering there is about 1400 clubs on campus, it is guaranteed that you either will find a club you relate with and will enjoy or you could just make another org that does what you are interested in. 

Compared to the involvement fair that took place at the Oval and South Oval last semester, this one took place at various different rooms in the Ohio Union. I liked that this one was much smaller because I felt I had the opportunity to actually get to talk with the people at the different booths and learn about their orgs rather than be walking around aimlessly in the heat like last semester. Also, I felt I was able to get to know what the club meant to people and what they hope to achieve and do throughout the semester. 

One of the tables that I stopped at was the org: Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship (aka APTE). They explained to me that APTE is focused on exploring the role of social enterprises and sustainable solutions to societal issues. Basically, each of the members in this org is very passionate about finding ways to incorporate social impact into their lives and they try to come together to collectively make this world a little bit better. This program gathers together social entrepreneurs, students, and community members to learn, create, and collaborate on various different topics and through different meetings and events. Their flagship and largest event is the annual Business Generating Good Summit, previously known as the APTE Summit, where they bring speakers from around the globe to explore sustainable solutions to poverty. This year they are having speakers including the Jeni’s Ice Cream CEO and some other notable business owners that will share their tips for creating a sustainable lifestyle. 

Another notable table I stopped by was for the Muscle Movement Foundation or MMF. The Muscle Movement Foundation at Ohio State works to raise awareness and funds for families and individuals affected by neuromuscular disease. They raise money through different events in the semester and the one that is coming up soon that they are currently planning for is their 5k run. This is one of their biggest forms of fundraising and they have received a lot of money by doing this. WIth the money they have been able to help two people so far, a young boy around 8-9 years old and an older man as well. For the older man, his neuromuscular disease has impaired his ability to walk so he now remains in a wheelchair. MMF noticed when they visited his home that it was not wheelchair accessible and he could not easily get in or out of his home, so they decided they were going to use some of the funds to help build a walkway for him to be able to get in and out of his home more easier. I thought that was an amazing thing that they were able to do. It was probably a real struggle and somewhat dangerous for him not having a proper walkway and they were able to help out and make sure he was taken care of. 

These events reminded me how many different clubs there are at OSU and how much we all are able to use our energy to join a club we love and are passionate about but at the same time make a difference in this world. Whether it is sharing knowledge with one another, bringing in professionals to spread their knowledge, having fundraising events, bringing awareness for various things, etc, it is just great to see the amount of passion everyone has. I learned about more clubs today that I hope to join and get more involved with.  

Global Water Institute: Did You Know Event – East Africa (Campus, Academic) – January 14th (3:00pm – 5:00pm)

Global Water Institute held this amazing event filled with various speakers of different professions, educational backgrounds, ethnicity, etc, where they all came together to discuss GWI and how they all got involved in this program. This is the second year that this event is being held and it is occurring following the success of GWI’s first Did You Know: Ohio State Activities in Tanzania event last year, but this year they decided to focus more broadly on the entirety of East Africa. They had amazing speakers that included current students, graduating seniors, graduate students and professionals in their rightful careers, which allowed for there to be a great mix of opinions and experiences to share. 

They started out by explaining what Global Water Institute is. “This Ohio State program focuses on water issues and how they are about people, ecosystems, and financial realities. They are about climate and energy and old habits dying hard. Since really thorny water issues don’t have a single cause, the only way to make progress is to integrate all of those other pieces, people, energy, climate, economics, into the solution. What’s needed is a neutral technology integrator, combining the best pieces and ideas regardless of where they come from. That’s where the GWI comes in.” This program, to me, wants to create long lasting solutions through much research and trials, and by getting hands on data and experience in the respective country with these water problems. They emphasized how they wanted to focus on working with closely with the people of the village they are helping, which in the first years it was a small village in Tanzania, they make sure to do follow up trips to make sure and maintain the success of their implemented programs. 

Each of the speakers all work with GWI but do this through different efforts. Paul Gerber, who is with the Solar Engineering Service Learning, explained about a study abroad opportunity in Tanzania that he has for undergrad and graduate students of Ohio State. Through this study abroad, during the May-Mester, they were able to build and install solar panels in an all boys dormitory in Tanzania. The Ohio State students worked together with the Arusha College in Tanzania to make this happen and it seems to have positively helped the community and these young boys. 

Another speaker Ann O’Connell talked about how she and a few other professors in various different fields have come together to do Health and Education Research. They are working to develop and enhance methodology through workshops. They want to help improve self pride within the nation of Ethiopia and the increased pride these students could have for their country. They worked with Addis Ababa University to help work with the children and get research and help do their best to allow for these children to succeed and become what they want in the future. 

As and East African myself, I understand and appreciate a lot of the work they were doing and talking about. There are many issues within East Africa, and irrigation systems and water technologies are one of the many things they so desperately need. By providing the necessary tools, educating the youth of Africa, and helping create contacts and connections, it will really help these countries to succeed and thrive in the future. 

I feel like I learned so much about global Water Institute and I hope to get more knowledgeable about water systems in Africa and how I can help contribute to this cause myself. I know my country of Eritrea could use more knowledge and help in this area and maybe I could help create the change that will help the nation thrive.