Class of 2018 begins journey toward global citizenship

More than 1,500 first-year and transfer students arrived on campus Friday set on learning about social and economic issues impacting their world while finding ways to improve the lives of others.

A record number of first-year students moved into Elon residential neighborhoods on Aug. 22, 2014, as they prepare to begin their collegiate studies at a university dedicated to educating students as global citizens committed to service and civic engagement.

Over the next four years, the 1,500 students in the Class of 2018 will have opportunities to study abroad, conduct undergraduate research, engage in service activities, secure internships and develop their leadership abilities through any number of faculty relationships and student organizations.

As they settled into their home for the next year, more than a dozen freshmen and transfer students shared what global, national or local issues they desire to study and, perhaps, help address in the years ahead.

Here’s what they said:

Contia’ Prince
Akron, Ohio

“I want to research the way minorities are represented in the media. For me, it’s important because I’m a minority, and also because I don’t feel the way minorities are represented is accurate. Media today rely on a lot of stereotypes, especially when they are representing groups they don’t understand or don’t have experience with.”

Kelsey Warren
Columbus, Ohio

“I am interested in learning more about the leadership role of women in society. I come from an all-girls school that pushes leadership. They showed us we all need to be leaders, yet women still make 70 cents on the dollar to men.”

Claire Dollen
Austin, Texas

“I want to learn more about the distribution of wealth. Neither of my parents came from a lot of opportunity, yet they were able to find their way, providing opportunities for me and my brother. I’m interested in learning about ways to overcome disadvantages.”

Brendan Ziomek
Amherts, Massachusetts

“I’m pretty interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict right now. It’s affecting a lot of people in the region and I want to learn about the root of the problem. I think it’s an issue that can be resolved.”

Molly Spero
Raleigh, North Carolina

“A really important global issue today is women’s health in terms of birth control and pre-natal care. As a woman, it’s important to me to be aware of my own gender’s issues. In different cultures and developing countries, a lot of women lose their life by giving a life. Both lives should be saved.”

Dustin Resh
Burlington, North Carolina

“If I wanted to make people more aware of conscious of an issue, it would have to be how everyone has challenges going on in their own lives. The best thing you can do is try to be a good and genuine person. Everybody that you run into has a handicap. Some show and some don’t.”

Aidan Loftus
Hollis, New Hampshire

“Given the Common Reading book (“The Boy Who Harnassed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba), I’m interested in poverty and hunger in Africa. I knew it was an issue but had never heard from someone directly about it. No one should have to suffer and there are measures that can be taken to find solutions to those problems.”

Zack Chickering
Charlotte, North Carolina

“The one issue I hope to address is homelessness. Most homeless people are disregarded by most citizens.”

Megan Podgorski
Buffalo, New York

“Global poverty is what I’m looking forward to fighting and learning more about. We are in such a privileged area of the world and don’t truly see global poverty. We have poverty in our country that doesn’t necessarily compare, and I think it’s our duty to help people who would like our help.”

Kendall Kopchick
Davidson, North Carolina

“I did a lot of this in high school, and I want to continue it in college, helping with suicide prevention and bullying prevention in middle and high school. Middle school is rough for everyone, and was for me in particular. A lot of times adults forget about problems at that age, but at the time for young people, those can be the biggest issues in the world.”

Johvonn Smith
Atlanta, Georgia

“On my mind right now is the Mike Brown situation (in Ferguson, Missouri). When you see a police officer, you should feel protected and not afraid. That’s changing in black communities where, when you see a police officer, you put your guard up. I hope to spread awareness of how people feel and identify ways to avoid it, by helping to communicate with officers and teaching others about their rights.”

Jacy Loshin
Arlington, Massachusetts

“The first thing to comes to mind is Ferguson (Missouri), but on a bigger scale is overall racial and social class disparities and inequalities. This should be important to everyone. If everyone cared a little more, the world really would be a better place.”


Kiera Ervin
Carrollton, Virginia

“Two Americans get Ebola in Africa and get to come home to be cured. There are hundreds in Africa who don’t have the funds to even pay for medical testing. Africans should be able to receive the same treatments and opportunities.”