Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” As an International Relations major, I really take this idea to heart. If we want something to be done, we have to stop referencing John Mayer in saying that, “We’re waiting on the world to change.” The reality is that we live in a world full of bystander apathy and buck passing, which are just fancy jargon for handing the responsibility of making a difference to other people. The reality is is that we have to do the heavy lifting. We don’t just make a difference– that seems too weak, too inactive a term. We do the difference.
The great thing about doing something worthwhile is that there is always an opportunity for it, everywhere we go. Pittsburgh is a great place where differences are being done. Currently, the One Young World Conference is being hosted in the David Lawrence Convention Center and at various locations around the Pittsburgh. While it’s too late to join in now, it’s a significant event for our city because it shows that people from all over the world gather here to learn, brainstorm, network, and work together to make something happen in the world. There are also hundreds of places and causes for which you can volunteer. The Pittsburgh Literary Council in downtown teaches English to international refugees and helps illiterate adults learn to read and find better jobs. I know a few students from Pitt who take the bus just to volunteer there. Duquesne also regularly hosts cleanup projects in the South Side.
But we don’t even need to venture away from campus to find great ideas. Most, if not all organizations on campus have some sort of a philanthropic side. There are great organizations which provide fun ideas and chances to get out and do something good in the world. Students for Human Rights (formerly known as Amnesty International) concentrates on international human rights. This year, the organization is concentrating on the situation in the Congo (find out more by going to its Facebook page!) Coming up this week is the Fair Trade Coffeehouse by Spiritan Campus Ministry on Wednesday, October 24 from 8pm-10pm! Come and get some fair trade coffee, dark chocolate, and information about what’s happening!
And if you hate all of these options, here’s a link for you to find some volunteer opportunities around Pittsburgh!
And remember, don’t be a human being, be a human doing!