Website helps students to explore interests from a global perspective

Last month the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) launched the new Think Global website to help students learn about global issues; study those issues through related course work, majors and minors; and connect with resources leading to real-world involvement, both now and after graduation.

Under the leadership of Elena Galinova, senior undergraduate studies adviser in DUS, the Think Global initiative serves as a gateway and an accessible resource for students curious about the world and the role they might play in contributing to global change.

“Think Global introduces the concept of world citizenship,” Galinova explained, “via interest areas that students can both recognize and relate to -- society/politics, cultures/people, business, health, environment, and science/technology.”

“The website is an educational guide for our students -- and the advisers and instructors who assist them -- to help them explore their interests from a global perspective and integrate them into their general education selections, majors, minors and co-curricular activities,” Galinova said.

“Students can start to see how issues of health, politics, science, and technology affect us all,” she said. “They can begin to learn how organizations, whether local or international, are trying to address these issues and effect change. Our students can get involved to improve the global landscape as early as their college years.”

As the Think Global project emerged within the Division of Undergraduate Studies, an unexpected human-interest story also unfolded.

While developing the website, the team came across the image of a young African boy in a field of green. The photo was captivating, and team members learned that the photographer was a Rwandan girl who had participated in a project to empower village children orphaned by genocide and disease. These children are heads of their households and continue to struggle with poverty and illness as they care for younger siblings. Two collaborating nonprofit organizations, Gafotozi (meaning “little photographer”) and A Peace of Life, encouraged these youngsters to capture and send important messages to the world through media and the arts. It was through the Gafotozi project that Penn State’s Think Global team discovered Germaine’s story and selected her image as the site’s centerpiece.

Since then the team decided to incorporate a Think Global section specifically dedicated to inspirational projects, which includes links to Gafotozi and A Peace of Life as well as links to other initiatives.

“The Gafotozi project accomplished its goal by reaching us here at Penn State, and at the same time it helped Think Global begin its own educational journey,” Galinova remarked. “We feel humbled by the children in Germaine’s village and hope we can help to increase awareness of their plight as well as inform our students of these kinds of issues and the many opportunities to effect change in the world.”

For more information about Think Global and opportunities to become involved in the program, contact Galinova in Penn State’s Division of Undergraduate Studies at exg154@psu.edu or 814-865-7576.

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Last Updated April 24, 2012