Get informed, involved in the world

Spinnaker

With the busy schedules students must balance, it can be hard to focus on any life other than their own. But there is so much going on in America and around the world that students should know about.

In Guatemala, people are suffering from social problems caused by 36 years of civil war, a lack of
educational opportunities and utter poverty.

In Darfur, people – particularly innocent children – deal with war, genocide and countless other crimes and crises every day.

And there are even problems right now in our own backyard.

Many are arguing that in Fort Benning, Ga., approximately 300 miles from Jacksonville (a 5-hour drive), soldiers have been trained in brutal interrogation techniques.

Father Roy Bourgeois is one who has been traveling around the United States informing Americans of the former School of Americas, the school that is responsible for the accused horrors. He came to UNF Feb. 18 to bring light on the subject in the Jacksonville community.

But many students didn’t – and probably still don’t – have a clue about it.

It comes down to keeping up with the news and being aware of what is going on in the world, even in our own country, just one state away.

It’s not just about the bad news though, it’s also important to know about the positive things happening. For example, newly announced protected areas in the Pacific Ocean are already proving successful for the continuation of plant and animal species. And even more than just being aware, it is most essential that
what we know inspires us to make a difference.

Many students might think they have no impact on Jacksonville, much less the world. But by simply donating a dollar or two to an organization, students can have a huge impact on lives halfway around the world.

More than money, students can donate an hour or two out of their 168-hour week to lend a hand to someone not as fortunate as themselves.

College students often talk about how they want to travel all around the world. Well, that can be done – usually relatively inexpensively – at the cost of helping someone else.

That is exactly what one UNF group plans to do in Guatemala during Spring Break. Seventeen students will have the opportunity to enhance the lives of Guatemalans by spending the week providing clothing and clean water.

And students not going on the trip had the chance to participate in the lives of the Guatemalans at an aid benefit concert Feb. 19 at UNF’s Hodges Stadium.

Maybe going abroad is too time-consuming for some and they weren’t able to make the aid concert due to other obligations. But luckily for everyone, another opportunity is coming up. A few UNF departments are joining in a nation-wide event Mar. 2 to encourage youngsters to read and understand the enjoyment that can come from reading.Volunteers will read to the children and help with setting and cleaning up.

It really isn’t that difficult to take a look around and give a helping hand when you see someone not as fortunate as you. Opportunities range from going abroad to spending an hour reading on the Green at UNF.

We just need to open our eyes and lend a helping hand.