Passion for Social Justice Grows at Summer Program

August 11, 2011 5:45 AM

Cody Wild

For many college students, summer is traditionally a time for exploration, for traveling and for enlarging one’s view of the world beyond the campus and the classroom. For Angela Filardo, this widening vision of the world took a very particular form, coalescing during a week spent in Boston as a part of the highly competitive Oxfam America CHANGE program.

Tulane Empowers

Angela Filardo

Rising sophomore Angela Filardo, in orange dress, is one of only 50 students nationwide attending training for social activists. As part of a lobbying exercise, other CHANGE leaders and a facilitator work on presenting information about campaigns to potential supporters. (Photo from Oxfam America)

The CHANGE Initiative seeks to metamorphose 50 socially minded college students into trained activists for social justice on the campus level. Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice.

Filardo, a rising Tulane sophomore with a passion for human rights, first became cognizant of the CHANGE initiative through her work with the Tulane Global Service League,  a student organization that raises awareness about human rights issues. “I’ve always been involved in volunteering on a local scale,” said Filardo, “and I love learning about other countries and cultures. The Global Service League seemed like a perfect blend.”

Filardo was encouraged to apply to the CHANGE program by a fellow GSL member and CHANGE alumni leader. During the leader training, Filardo enriched her understanding of global obstacles to and abuses of human rights — from a worsening food crisis to exploitative mining practices — and left with a heightened commitment to social justice advocacy.

John Ambler, Oxfam America’s program director, made a particular impression on Filardo. “[Ambler] has spent the better part of his life researching and campaigning for social justice in Asia,” says Filardo. “Once, he argued with Taliban officials for women’s rights. He’s so knowledgeable and accomplished, and I would love if my life followed a similar track.”

When she returns to Tulane’s campus, Filardo will put her experience into practice, working with Oxfam’s new GROW campaign, whose objective is to provide all citizens of the world clean water and a sustainable food supply. “I’ll be working to raise awareness,” Filardo explained, “and my goal is to link hunger problems in New Orleans with the global food crisis.”

Cody Wild is a rising sophomore at Tulane who is studying English and political economy.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000