Rollins selected to host UN-backed fellowship

Eleven of the 15 students selected to be Millennium Fellows gathered with one of their staff advsiros, Patrick Odoyo (far left). (Caroline Klouse / Writer)

This semester, Rollins is one of only 30 campuses across the world to be working alongside the United Nations Millennium Fellowship program. Only 15 Rollins students were selected as fellows.

The U.N. and its affiliates have called upon the 15 fellows to convene, challenge, and celebrate as they each focus on one project in association with a particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

The SDGs were created in an effort to change and improve the lives of billions of people by 2030.

Each of the fellows’ projects will focus on working with a specific organization, both outside and inside of the Rollins community.

For instance, Raul Tavarez-Ramirez (’21), an international relations and environmental studies double-major, will undertake SDGs like “promoting responsible consumption and production” and “promoting sustainable cities and communities” by hosting service activities and tabling events with EcoRollins, the environmental club on campus.

Tavarez-Ramirez planned to join his fellow pioneers at Rollins and “empower [himself] to be an effective leader,” because, “every nationwide song of victory begins with the rallying cries of a solo singer.”

Similarly, Gabbie Buendia (’19) is focusing on “promoting responsible consumption and production,” with the key word being “responsible.” She believes that each global citizen has a duty and a responsibility “to be conscious of our consumption and production patterns and to forge new, sustainable, and fair ways of doing them,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mary Vickers (’19), plans to focus on goals related to reducing inequality by “researching the impacts of immigration enforcement in low-income immigrant communities in Apopka.”

Vickers hopes her research supports the Rollins belief that “life is for service” by helping local organizations receive the grants and funding needed to highlight and tackle discrimination in local communities.

On the other hand, Colin Brant (’19) said he is preparing to focus on “reducing poverty in the Orlando area” by addressing poverty.

By joining this program, Brant hopes to “network with people from all over the world to synergize projects and ideas” and as a result, grow even more into becoming a responsible leader with a “globally conscious perspective.”

Throughout the semester, students will be supported by Rollins staff and faculty as they work to achieve their goals.

During the application process, Director of External and Competitive Scholarships Dr. Jay Shivamoggi played a major role in helping the students turn their dreams of becoming a fellow into a reality.

The fellows will be assistance and guided by Dan Chong, assistant professor of political science, Patrick Odoyo, staff director of the social innovation and entrepreneurship hub, and Lord Family Assistant Micki Meyer.

Rollins’ achievement of being selected to host the UN Millennium Fellows speaks to its reputation.

Chong said that Rollins’ reputation as a liberal arts college does not just constitute itself as a “degree-granting institution,” but rather it “teaches you how to think better, and how to act upon your most creative ideas.”

In its collaboration with the U.N. and its fellowship program, Chong firmly believes that Rollins will continue to foster creativity, critical thinking and the skills needed to become an “active citizen, not just a marketable worker.”

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