The motto of the Graduate College of Social Work is Be the Change You Want to See in the World. Three students are harnessing opportunity to live that motto. They’re taking a proposal for a large scale community health event to the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI).
“The project we want to do is to bring some type of behavioral and medical health care to a population that is underserved,” said Greta Bellinger, a first year graduate student with a goal of engaging others in service-learning. “We’d like to bring attention that there is still disparity in our health care system.”
Bellinger, together with her student colleagues Elizabeth Lowrey and Margaret Mayer, will be part of the more than 1,000 student leaders from around the country invited to the CGI to help them turn their ideas into action. They’ll network with other community leaders from across the country for feedback on their project: a sustainable health fair for nutrition, dental and mental health needs.
“We really need to bring together providers who can offer different compartments of care including mental health, behavior health, general health and well-being and nutrition,” Mayer said. Her professional goals include working in the mental health field with populations suffering with mental health issues and substance abuse. “This project allowed the three of us to come together with all of our interests and provide this to a population.”
When they return to Houston, the students will spend a year developing their health project with Houston neighborhood leaders before implementing it. Opportunities such as the Clinton Global Initiative gel classroom theories and lessons, and can be a springboard for students’ professional and personal goals.
“We’re taught all this stuff in class and a lot is theoretical, but our professors try to put it in perspective as well,” Lowery said. “They teach us about how important it is to move it outside the classroom and apply it in areas where you can.”
UH, like Houston, is a microcosm for the world and a place to grow those passions.
“Being at a university such as UH, where it is also very diverse, is a beautiful picture of all different cultures coming together working and striving toward a common goal,” Bellinger said. “UH and the Graduate College of Social Work drive home that passion students have to be successful and make a difference not only in Houston but globally.”
The Clinton Global Initiative U is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez