Big Idea: Student Organization Funds Girls’ Education Internationally
Christian Sullivan, a junior in animal science, was so impressed after learning about She’s the First—an international organization that promotes literacy and social justice for women in developing countries by sponsoring education—that he had the big idea to start a chapter.
Sullivan now has the special distinction of being the first male president of a university chapter of She’s the First.
Sullivan learned about She’s the First after participating in a fund raiser for the organization through his fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, and Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Last spring, he chartered UT’s chapter, and this semester the organization was officially recognized by the university.
The chapter’s philanthropic project is the Starfish One by One Program in Guatemala. The program works to educate adolescent Mayan girls in the rural Lake Atitlan region.
They held a bake sale in the fall to raise money for the Starfish One by One Program. This semester, they plan to hold a screening of a documentary about She’s the First to raise awareness about the program. They also will participate in a CNN-sponsored event called #basicmath. She’s the First members and other UT students will display pieces of paper on the Pedestrian Walkway reading “A Girl + Education =” with different ideas about why they think educating girls is important. Dates for these events will be announced soon.
She’s the First brought Sullivan and UT chapter Vice President Gracie McGuire to New York in October to participate in the inaugural International Day of the Girl at the Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn. They submitted proposals to the United Nations with solutions to specific international problems related to girls’ education.