Fellows in Florida: Expanding the Millennium Fellowship Program

The following is a reflection from Donovan, one of our recently graduated Millennium Fellows. He joined MCN staff and another fellow, Fatima, in visiting south Florida this past month, as MCN looks to expand the Millennium Fellowship outside of Boston and to students around the world.

It was a true honor to represent the current 2014-2015 class of Millennium Fellows at Lynn University. What was just a day trip to Florida, turned into a series of memorable experiences and enjoyable moments, with mutual learning serving as the underlying framework of our meet-up. Initially, Fatima and I were able to present our respective student organizations to administrators from both Lynn University and Barry University. As a member of the Engineers Without Borders Chapter at Boston University, I was able to describe our emphasis on community-driven programs and human-centered designs. We were able to give a similar presentation to a group of about 20 students, describing EWB-BU's progress in MCN's "Key Performance Indicators" and showing how the Fellowship has contributed to our growth and capacity building over the past year. A challenge statement presented by UNICEF @ Lynn led to a vibrant discussion among peers through facilitated peer feedback, one of the core components of the Millennium Fellowship.

I had the opportunity to talk with a dozen students who expressed the passion they have for social service and desire to take action for greater global awareness. Therefore, expanding the Millennium Fellowship to South Florida would catalyze the translation of such passion into concrete goals and tangible humanitarian campaigns. The Millennium Fellowship program is adamant about helping students succeed in their initiatives and is unique in that it understands the student perspective in closing the gap between youthful passion and the overwhelming complexity of global issues. EWB at BU is fortunate to have been part of the Millennium Fellowship this year, and we hope more students tap into its resources and benefits over the next year in order to optimize their potential!

Overall, this unique experience allowed me to take a step back and realize the potential students have in translating their passion and academic knowledge into real-world, high-stakes, and hands-on action that has a positive impact on society. I learned much from the Florida students, given the diversity in backgrounds and motivations, even continuing discussions with some after returning to Boston. It allowed me to bring back greater passion to my organization and leap forward into increased efforts towards sustainable development.