By Sam Haas
A few weeks ago, I received Northeastern University’s student government’s “I Am a Husky” award for my connections to campus and the surrounding community. I was and still am thrilled (especially when I found out the award included gift cards to Qdoba and J.P. Licks) about the award, and I want to acknowledge the huge role that Generation Citizen has played in this award, and for me this past semester.
According to the student representative who gave it to me, I won the award on the strength of my volunteering and community service hours, nearly all of which have come from GC. Last semester I taught in a 9th grade classroom, and this semester I’m on the GC Northeastern E-board, which so far has been incredibly challenging given the recent weather and some chapter placement issues. However, being a leader in our GC chapter is the best kind of challenge—getting everyone settled in classrooms, energizing and supporting new DCs, and helping GC grow are all important, and all take a lot of work.
In addition, the passage of the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Act on Jan. 6 in Massachusetts was an exciting time for GC. Several classes had advocated for the bill in various forms, including Ms. Laura Gersch and Ms. Wanda Muriel’s humanities class at Margarita Muñiz Academy, which I had the pleasure of co-DC’ing last semester.
Our class had been particularly focused on helping unaccompanied youth connect with homeless resources. Specifically, my students lobbied officials at the Boston Public Health Commission for allocation of more of the BPHC budget to supporting homelessness resources, and to making them more accessible. The new bill will address this issue directly, through a committee designed to facilitate access to support resources for homeless youth.
Thus, in one month I experienced two major capstones to my first semester GC classroom. The Husky award and the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Act are a testament to the power of GC, both in its ability to create systemic change, and in its ability to make other people notice that action civics is something worth celebrating, spreading, and teaching.
Going forward, I hope to help make GC’s power even greater. I’m not sure how I want to be involved next year, whether it is as a DC, chapter leadership, a democracy journalist, or working directly on GC advocacy campaigns. However, I do know that I—and hopefully scores of new Northeastern students—will be here supporting GC as it grows and becomes only more successful.
Generation Citizen is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 tax exempt organization which does not endorse candidates; our goal is to engage our staff, participants, and stakeholders in political and civic action on issues that matter to them personally and in their communities. The opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the writer alone and do not reflect the opinions of Generation Citizen.