¿Por qué necesito entrar?
Word Up is a volunteer run community bookshop on 165th street that hosts literary readings, music concerts, film screenings, theater productions, art openings, community meetings and other events in an effort to “support and fortify the creative spirit” of the community it serves....
Today is the first day of October, and if, like me, you gasped when realizing that September was gone (and not just out of excitement for Halloween), then this dose of inspiration is just for you. In today's paper, Alessandra Poblador reported on an expo that took place this past weekend that connected Harlem residents with after-school opportunities for their children:...
In the midst of the Occupy Wall Street movement, there has been a parallel movement across campus. This is the carefully dressed caravan of seniors on their way to consulting and finance information sessions. It is a movement that I, as a senior, have fallen victim to on occasion. It is in my face every day as I watch my friends walk around with coffee mugs from Accenture and discuss offers from Oliver Wyman. Talking to them, I feel envy because I, too, wanted to be an attractive candidate for the corporate cream of America, just to confirm that I am a valid member of society. Yet, more than anything, it makes me feel pity, because I know that life is too sweet for me to be another white-collared employee whose life is set for the next 10 years. I want more than just a big salary, and, at 21, I am young enough to do so much more than receive large paychecks. I wanted to do what I came to Columbia to do—change the world. But now I am faced with a dilemma in my senior year. While I don't want to be sucked into the black hole that is consulting and finance, I'm not ready to dedicate my life to activism and camp out with other protestors at Occupy Wall Street. As it turns out, there is a solution to my dilemma—volunteering abroad. Many people might say that they have already studied abroad and have tasted the foods and learned the histories of their respective host cities. However, how many of us went to the impoverished areas of these countries? How many of us truly got to know the children struggling to make it to school because they need to work at home to help their family gather enough food for the day? At Columbia, faced with the "dilemma of the Ivy League," we worry about retirement age and when we'll get our first loft. We worry about getting the Rhodes Scholarship or Phi Beta Kappa recognition. In other places, families worry about getting enough eggs for the day and if they will have enough money to send their children off to school. Bilingual Education for Central America, based in Honduras, is a not-for-profit organization that has been working to address these issues in the small rural town of Cofradia since 2001. The organization has now expanded to two different schools, and it seeks new college graduates who are willing to work towards providing a low-cost, accessible education to impoverished children in Latin America. I volunteered with them in the summer of 2010, and I can honestly say that BECA has changed my life. Despite the success of this institution, there have been many times when, financially, BECA has had its struggles. Some employees even had to give up their salaries certain months in order to continue the operations of the organization. This form of commitment that the directors and staff at BECA have shown over the years is outstanding, but is one that should not have to happen to the leaders of our international community who strive daily to improve our world, one child at a time. On campus, the Columbia University Child Rights Group is attempting to acknowledge this and will be having a fundraiser later this month. Yet the goodwill should not stop there. The world needs more volunteers, and Columbia can benefit from a campus of students who are involved both globally and domestically, making a name through public interest work. BECA is only one of many organizations looking for volunteers. Princeton in Latin America is another organization that recruits volunteers yearly to improve conditions in Latin America. The opportunities are endless and can be found all over the world in countries ranging from Honduras to Senegal. As Columbia students, we have been given the gifts of intelligence, opportunity, and leadership, as well as the name of the one of the greatest universities. It would be a shame for us not to share these privileges with the world before succumbing to white-collared luxuries. The author is a Columbia College senior majoring in political science....