I teach health to twenty-year olds who make a lot of bad decisions. The college years are known for that kind of thing and it is mostly written off as growing pains. All those bad decisions take time though and my thinking is this. If you have the time for all those bad decisions then you have time to save the world. I believe we, here in the US, we have an unorganized army in high school and college students and when focused for good, I find them to be filled with empathy and energy. So I focus them.
Luckily, I can justify this within my role as a health educator. One of my goals is to show my students that Health is as much a personal thing as it is a global phenomenon. For example when we talk about the physical benefits eating vegetables I have them read what the Center For Science in the Public Interest (CSPI.net) writes “Substituting chicken, fish, or eggs for red meat and dairy just one day a week for a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to not driving 760 miles.” Source: Environ. Sci. Technol. 42: 3508, 2008. Seriously, you tell students this kind of thing and more than one of them will give up meat for a week. Everybody wins.
You tell a class room of twenty somethings that little girls are forced into prostitution all over the world and they will sell bananas, oranges and make enough puppy chow to raise $10,000 in five years. Yes they will and at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, yes they did. Sure, it takes planning and several students all focused on the same thing. But many of them have the time. They are an army just waiting for a general, and believe me some of them need to make a few more good decisions.
So, here’s the tweet: It takes an Army of college students to save the world, one class at a time. #UWW @girleffect.org