By: Matthew McKenzie
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – The inaugural semester of the Niagara University Social Justice and the Environmental houses was one of both ups and downs, but altogether the houses are a culmination of the work of a lot passionate and intelligent people looking to address local social issues and to truly build lasting community relationships and progression. One of the main goals of the two houses moving forward is to create a permanent relationship with the United Nations.
This process began with a trip to New York City, and a visit with a Non-Governmental Organization, a group that works to address political and social issues. Once in Manhattan the group met with Guillermo ‘Memo’ Campuzano, a member of the NGO who guided us from the manhattan NGO office and moved on to a tour of the United Nations.
The UN is an awe-inspiring building that really reflects different touches of other nations, with diverse guides, workers, art and architecture. The tour included time in the very same auditoriums where world leaders discuss and (hopefully) develop solutions to problems that are faced by the populations all over the world. One moment that will stick with the group for the rest of their lives is when they discovered an electric counter that seemed to be counting by tens of thousands with every second. They were then told that it was counting towards a number that would be upwards of five billion dollars, the estimate reflects that the daily amount that is spent on the military by the world’s countries.
This collective amount will be trillions of dollars the the time the nearby New Years Eve ball drops at the conclusion of 2019, by far outpacing the annual spending of education, health care, infrastructure, etc by trillions. From this they returned to Memo and met with an array of other NGO workers that discussed their views on the importance of the platform and the network the United Nations facilitates.
The United Nations is an institution that encompasses the touch of every country on the planet and for any students to participate is a prize Niagara deserves.