Students attend national UNICEF conference

On Oct. 10-12 two Mercyhurst students attended two national student conferences sponsored by UNICEF.

Junior Computer Systems and Math major Bereket Temtime and senior Biochemistry major Kirubeal Mulugeta went to the Millennium Campus Conference (MCC) at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

They met with student leaders from more than 50 countries, from over 200 universities worldwide and with more than 100 NGOs and companies global leaders.

They connected with other participants in order to find alternatives to fight extreme poverty around the globe, speak up about the United Nations 2015 Developmental Agenda and celebrate the international Day of the Girl.

Before going to the MCC, they met at the UNICEF Campus Summit, an event partnered with the MCC. This event was composed of members of UNICEF clubs from schools all around the country.

The goal of the conference was to bring together different leaders from around the globe, exchange ideas and raise awareness, as well as funds.

The event’s main focus was on educating student clubs, for which they had numerous workshops throughout the day. They taught the students how to fundraise and how to retain members. They focused on the betterment of the clubs, while also trying to reinforce their core message.

On Friday, the MCC started, which was composed of a greater variety of students from all around the globe. All participants were able to share their ideas as well as learn from others. They also met with more experienced leaders who expressed their own ideas and motivated them.

“It helped me to know a lot of stuff like people coming from different worlds and different perspectives,” said Temtime. “They know a lot of things that I didn’t know and we shared a lot of knowledge.”

Temtime said the experience helped him to become “more educated about what is going on in the world and what we should be able to do in our clubs, our campus and individually…Famous people that did a lot of work motivate me to think ahead in the future on what is possible. It was motivating and very educational.”

Among the speakers were Julie Lewis, mother of American rap artist Ryan Lewis, Mischa Barton, a cast member of The O.C. teen drama series, and Kristen Davis from the Sex and the City movies.

Temtime went to a recruiting workshop to improve his ability on attracting students to join the UNICEF club, while Mulugeta went to a workshop about fundraising. They engaged in two different debates, one on students leaving their native countries and the other about ethical issues.

“It was pretty inspirational. I had the privilege to attend all the key note speeches and they were very motivational” Mulugeta said.

To make it to the event, Temtime and Mulugeta had to apply online and pay a $60 fee to be accepted into the conference, as well as purchase their own plane ticket to the Florida location. The application is on an individual basis. For future reference, the applications can be found on the Mercyhurst University UNICEF Facebook page.

Temtime believes more people should share the experience.

“Anyone who wants to join can and it’s probably affordable to most people. The things that they get back for it, like the knowledge, the connections you make… You are meeting a lot of great people that work for the United Nations. The things you get back from it are much more than you think,” Temtime said.