A new student group is working to create global access to education.
The group, EducAID, will help students address key issues limiting worldwide access to education.
“Education, in my opinion, is the first trigger for economic development,” said Marian Hale, a 21-year-old senior international affairs and humanities major. “It’s absolutely necessary. You can’t have an advanced society that isn’t educated.”
Many others at CU share Hale’s perspective, demonstrated by the 26 students who attended the first meeting of CU EducAid, the group that “seeks to engage students in the fight for global access to education by means of dialogue, events and projects working to make a global change.”
CU alumna Jacqueline Hamburg, 25, said the club fills a void in the CU community.
“There’s not really any other club on campus that’s focused on educating others, especially internationally,” Hamburg said. “I feel as students or alumni we have an obligation to pass on education, or at least the value of education and what that can do for people.”
Club founder and president Heather Starbuck, a 19-year-old sophomore international affairs major, said she felt this obligation and decided to extend her personal project, Operation Lyhou, into a campus group.
Operation Lyhou aims to raise $13,000, which will be matched by the World Bank to build a school in rural Cambodia through American Assistance for Cambodia, an independent non-profit organization. After raising $4,000 toward her cause, Starbuck said she decided to expand the project into CU EducAid.
“I felt like I had had the success I was going to have as an individual,” Starbuck said. “I’d hit a road block. I really wanted to make a group with leadership and with other people actively participating because I think a lot of this is not just trying to raise money for a cause. It’s really just trying to get kids involved.”
In order to do this, Starbuck affiliated CU EducAid with the International Affairs Department and got an adviser for the group, Professor Thomas Zeiler. Zeiler is also the director of the Global Studies Residential Academic Program, or GRAP.
Zeiler said he is passionate about the service component of CU EducAid.
“It fits into my goal of enhancing the service side of the education experience for students,” Zeiler said. “I think it’s very important for students to spend part of their time in college giving back, or at least learning about service.”
Starbuck said she wants CU students to have the same empowering experience she had when she volunteered at a Cambodian school in 2008.
“I hope that we’re gonna be able to raise the money and eventually get kids out there to see how much it makes an impact, just like I did,” Starbuck said. “I want students to experience that they can make a huge impact, even just as 19, 20 and 21-year-olds.”
Charlie Wasson, a 20-year-old junior international affairs major, said that’s what drew him to the club’s first meetings.
“I want to leave college not just thinking I got an education, but that I had a lasting impact with an organization that made a difference,” Wasson said.
The club’s first two meetings have focused on educating new members about the global education crisis and the Cambodia project itself.
“The meetings themselves help with cross-cultural awareness because of what we discuss,” Wasson said. “Here, you get to discuss and hear what other people think, their different perspectives and views.”
Starbuck said the cross-cultural element of this project calls for awareness and sensitivity.
“By learning about these different places and how education effects them, we’re also learning about their culture,” Starbuck said. “We’re working with a lot of diverse cultural attitudes; you have to go about it sensitively.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Emma Castleberry at Emma.email@example.com.