World Youth Alliance at Yale

I had the distinct pleasure last week to travel up to Yale University to meet with students, leaders, and members of different organizations to start developing a World Youth Alliance campus group. How I love being up in the New England towns like New Haven (which is where Yale is). The leaves are all changing and there is that fall chill in the air that always makes me think of football. But all that aside, it is great to be up at Yale, among college students who always have so much fire and enthusiasm. One feels energized just being around them.

This is especially true when talking with students about World Youth Alliance. There is a familiar look that comes into the eyes of young people- I have seen it dozens of times by now- when we talk about going into the UN, or about specific issues that are affecting our world, or the importance of young people in contributing solutions to the world’s big conflicts. There is almost always a moment when people say, “This is amazing. Why haven’t I heard of this before and how do I get involved?” And then we discuss the number of ways that they can, and the students begin to brainstorm and fire out ideas that are always better than the ones I came up with. I have found time and again as a WYA intern that if you just give motivated people the resources to do great things, they will.

So the campus group is already starting to form. We have a couple of motivated undergrads who are currently laying the groundwork for what will be our group at Yale. In fact, we will be putting on an event there in several weeks. Shannon Joseph, our North American Director, will be giving a presentation on HIV/AIDS and the international community. Shannon has attended an international AIDS Conference and has a good deal of training/experience on the disease itself, and how best to confront it through policy and action. It should be a fantastic talk. Otherwise, we will be developing contacts and members, and getting discussions and growth moving on the campus. I look forward to the possibilities. More information will certainly follow.

Casey Downing – World Youth Alliance