The campus suddenly seems quiet in this period that is not yet summer but definitely post-semester. Faculty are busy grading, and many staff members are busily preparing for the Reunion and Commencement weekend to come. It’s a time of transition.
Many of our students have already started projects that have taken them far from the campus in Middletown. In no way can one say that these students have lived in a “bubble.” They have founded organizations that are already serving people around the world, and through the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, we hope to be able to pass their expertise onto future generations of Wesleyan students.
Last week a group of students who started Brighter Dawns stopped by my office to talk about how their education will proceed once some of the founders have graduated. Brighter Dawns focuses on improving conditions for the very poor in Bangladesh. The organization’s website puts it this way: Our current goal is to make significant progress towards improving health and quality of life for residents of a slum in Ward 12 of Khalishpur, a city in Khulna, Bangladesh, by providing resources and education that spread effective sanitation, disease prevention, treatment during pregnancy and childcare, and other aspects of health in the community. Tasmiha Khan ’12 is the founder and Chief-Inspiration Officer of Brighter Dawns. Along with a stellar group of Wesleyan students, she has already begun to make a positive difference on a most serious issue.
Raghu Kiran Appasani ’12 has also been making an extraordinary contribution to addressing a serious issue through the Minds Foundation. Raghu and his team of Wesleyan students and professionals are dedicated to eliminating the stigma of mental illness in developing countries. They have a broad educational program to help communities understand the nature of mental illness, and they also facilitate access to treatment.
Kennedy Odede ’12 is the co-founder with Jessica Posner ’09 of Shining Hope for Communities, which has been building the Kibera School for Girls and the Johanna Justin Jinich Community Clinic in Kenya. Many Wesleyan students, faculty, staff and trustees have helped in this effort by working with the children outside of Nairobi or by raising funds for the organization here in the USA. There are many amazing stories that have come from the work of Shining Hope, but the Chair of the Parents Board, Baba Diana, puts it best: “The family that has an educated child…Their home has been built.”
Our students have been building their homes at Wesleyan for many years now, and in so doing they are also building shelters, schools, hospitals, and launch pads for thousands of people all around the world. Through their education, they are making the world more of a home for all of us.