February 2018

Year in Review: UNICEF on Campus

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As we move quickly towards a new year, we are taking a moment to look back at some of the highlights of 2018 with our series A Year in Review. For our second installment, we wanted to bring you back to celebrate the success of our UNICEF Campus AUP club.

The month of February was a very special one for the longstanding UNICEF Campus AUP club as they managed to raise a remarkable 1,300 euros –  the most funds raised by a single branch of UNICEF Campus in France for this period.

In order to raise those funds, the club hosted numerous events throughout the year, including a UNICEF Gala and Art Auction attended by the president of UNICEF Campus France, and a screening of Wallah – je te jure, a movie that follows the journeys of refugees traveling along West African migration routes to Italy. The latter event began with an emotional speech by AUP President Celeste Schenck and continued with a discussion between several professors, founders of NGOs, students and migrants.

UNICEF Campus AUP has become an established presence within the the University’s clubs and societies ecosystem, reaching out to other groups within and beyond the AUP community to develop fundraising opportunities and to raise awareness of human rights issues. In 2017-2018 this included supporting the Infamous Vie fashion show and collaborating with the designer for the creation of UNICEF t-shirts. As part of the club’s annual calendar, members organized a celebration for Universal Children’s Day, an initiative where students are asked: “What does childhood mean to you?”. Last year, they gathered 200 responses in over 20 different languages. The club is also well-known for their annual initiative during International Women’s Day, where more than 200 roses are sold to students and faculty in celebration of women’s strength and empowerment. On Red Hand Day (International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers) the students also worked to draw attention to the fates of child soldiers and called for action against this practice.

Clubs and activities give students the chance to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real world experiences, including everything from managing budgets to creating magazines.

Kevin Fore Dean of Student Development

The success of UNICEF Campus AUP is part of a growing trend in the last years that has seen the extracurricular activities on campus flourish. “We created a new Student Leadership Coordinator position five years ago to provide increased support to student-led, co-curricular activities,” said Kevin Fore, Dean of Student Development. “The coordinator focuses on building our community service offering, while also providing guidance and mentorship to all of our student clubs.” In 2018, Safia Benyahia stepped into the role, serving as an advisor to the Student Government Association (SGA) and student media groups on campus and helping, as Fore explained, “with everything from marketing and promotion to budgeting and event planning. As a result, clubs feel more supported and are able to do more. We currently have about 30 active clubs on campus, impressive volunteer initiatives and a dedicated and active SGA and student senate."

The Student Development Team are ready to take things to the next level in Spring 2019, with the launch of a new AUP Engage platform to track and promote club activities. This will allow anyone in the community to login and see who is involved and what clubs are planning. This investment in clubs and activities is essential says Fore. “Clubs and activities give students the chance to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real world experiences, including everything from managing budgets to creating magazines. At the same time, these activities provide a sandbox for students to acquire and hone essential soft skills, sought after by employers and graduate schools. They experiment with working in a team, managing conflict, presenting persuasively, organizing events, etc. We constantly remind them to focus on solutions rather than problems. That’s what leaders do.”

It is an ethos that the UNICEF Campus AUP club continues to embody. This academic year, the club has around 50 active members and aims to create a world where the rights of every child are realized and all children, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, have equal opportunities to survive and thrive.

Find out more about UNICEF Campus AUP on their Facebook page and Instagram. To learn more about the clubs and activities available at AUP head to the Clubs and Organizations section.