As the Director of Innovation and Changemaking, and as a Change Leader under St. Thomas’ Ashoka U Changemaker Campus designation, Manuela Hill-Muñoz is serious about change. This month, on Oct. 9, Hill-Muñoz, along with the Center for the Common Good, will host the first meeting for the Global Justice Movement, an advocacy initiative aimed at addressing migration and global hunger issues both locally and globally.
“We want the members of our community to learn how to live more empathetic lives, how to work with people with dignity in mind, how to not have a savior complex but rather walk with and in community with others,” Hill-Muñoz said.
As issues of migration, hunger and climate change are starting to take center stage in global conversations, so too are these issues finding a spot in the hearts and minds of this generation of college students and young people across the Twin Cities. The questions linger on the lips of many St. Thomas students: What can we do? How can we make a difference? How can we shape the future for ourselves and for humanity?
The Global Justice Movement is one of the many answers supplied by the Center for the Common Good.
“Advocacy is a skill that you will keep for the rest of your life. Learning how you can make change with our elected officials, how you can have a voice in where you want our dollars to be spent, how you want a congressperson to vote, how aid gets allocated to different parts of the world,” these are all things students will learn through participation in the movement, Hill-Muñoz said. She does not doubt young people’s ability to make change, and she sees it as the university’s role to provide training and opportunity to students so they are prepared to enter a life-long commitment to changemaking for the common good.
The Global Justice Movement, in partnership with CRS, aims to address migration, refugee and global hunger issues through advocacy training. Participating students will have an initial meeting called The Gathering on Oct. 9 to build community, connect with one another, and create task forces that will plan and host workshops and events throughout the academic year to advance initiatives surrounding these issues. All St. Thomas students are invited to join.
Students who have been active in their task forces will have the opportunity to attend a regional training at St. Thomas on Nov. 2 with students from college campuses around the Midwest. The Movement’s activities culminate in a trip to Washington D.C. in July 2020 – students will apply for a chance to attend an immersive training about global issues, visit congresspeople and see policy at work.
The work of changemaking doesn’t just happen co-curricularly – the Global Justice Movement is reaching out to faculty as well. Interested faculty can request a presentation for their class that will include a deep dive into advocacy, as well as a simple meal provided in partnership with Dining Services.
“If you are at this university, it is your responsibility as an employee, as a student, as an administrator, to help in our mission of advancing the common good, and that mission isn’t complete until we have really worked in combating injustice,” Hill-Muñoz said.
Students who are interested in participating in the Global Justice Movement are invited to attend The Gathering, GJM’s first meeting, on Oct. 9 from noon-1:15 p.m. in the create[space]. A simple, sustainable meal will be provided. If you have questions about the Global Justice Movement, or Changemaking on the ST. Thomas campus, contact Hill-Muñoz at firstname.lastname@example.org.