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Students lead transformative social projects as part of global Millennium Fellowship

The University of North Florida has joined the United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network’s Millennium Fellowship program. The selective fellowship is a semester-long leadership development program that convenes, challenges, and celebrates collegiate student leadership to advance the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals on campuses and in communities throughout globe.

The Millennium Fellowship Class of 2021 includes students from 136 campuses across 30 nations. UNF’s program will be led by UNF Hicks Honors College students Savanna Courtney-Durrett and Tammy Cao.

“We are very proud of these students who are so motivated to make an impact on our community,” said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, UNF Hicks Honors College dean. “These actions show their dedication to go above and beyond the demands of formal education—collectively they will make monumental change in our world.”

The proposed fellowship projects are bold and innovative. UNF’s four projects include:

Social Issues 101

Created by Ke’trin Lewis, UNF junior studying criminal justice; Kathryn Fox, communications junior; Kelsey Brown, communications junior; and Savanna Courtney-Durrett, political science and interdisciplinary studies junior

Social Issues 101 aims to educate UNF students about three selected social issues: pronouns and the gender binary, effects of race and class in America, and the refugee crisis in America. The project will consist of lecture presentations to contextualize the social issue followed by an engaging discussion prompted by questions regarding how the social issue impacts students at the following levels: personal, community, and global. This will encourage participants to consider the complex social issues and possible solutions in a broad context first focusing on a personal view to help them understand how issues impact them as individuals, the local level to understand impacts on others within their community, and then expanding into a global understanding.

Food Injustice: A Global Crisis During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Created by Tammy Cao, international studies junior

The Food Injustice project will examine the relationship between food injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic, considering factors such as not having enough employees to work which reduces the amount of food being produced; issues producing and trading food resources while mitigating risk of disease; and problems with access to healthy, nutritious food in certain communities of color, poverty, mental health etc. This project will not only examine the root causes and the outcomes but also analyze different ways to resolve the issues including providing education, resources, to even petitioning to fight for a change within the food system.

Drastic about Plastic

Created by Erin Ogrodnik, biology junior

Drastic about Plastic will take aim at the global plastic pollution crisis by working to incite behavior change in college students regarding their single-use plastic consumption. Working in partnership with the UNF Institute of Environmental Research and Education and its initiative to reduce single-use plastic consumption and foster pro-environmental behaviors, the project will focus on student education and engagement. The education efforts will include educational workshops and a summit with community leaders to discuss innovative solutions to plastic pollution at the state and local levels.

Student Organization for Mental Health Awareness

Created by Katie Wilkinson, psychology sophomore

This project will form a Student Organization for Mental Health Awareness (SOMHA) for students that are passionate about spreading mental health awareness on UNF’s campus and in the community. SOMHA's goal is to create a community of people who can support each other and the community through mental health struggles. The group will hold creative organization meetings at least once a month to share resources, advice and education to make an impact on local mental health. 

Learn more about the Millennium Fellowship program at