Confronting Global Poverty: Think Globally, Act Locally

By Victoria Clarizio
Staff Writer

You may be hearing this slogan around campus a lot and wondering what exactly it means.  The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops actually came up with the initiative which Campus Ministry then adopted and made their own.  This initiative is meant to educate and motivate the people of the United States to take a more active role in fighting global poverty.  The document which outlines the framework of it states that the purpose is to, “defend the life and dignity of people living in poverty throughout the world, and urge our nation to act in response to the many faces of poverty.”  We personalized this mission by thinking about what we could do locally to confront global poverty.

So what exactly does this theme mean for us?   “Confronting Global Poverty calls everyone of us to recognize the most pressing needs in our world and to seek ways to help alleviate poverty by working side-by-side with others to improve living conditions for all in need,”  said Amy Fotta, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry. Student Leader Dana Thomson interprets this theme to mean that “by acting locally we can impact things around the world.”  Confronting global poverty is also about bringing awareness to those without a voice, the marginalized of our society.  Student Leader Jill Troiano sees the theme as a “way we tackle local hunger and homelessness while making people aware of the larger global issues.”

So now you might be asking, well what can I do?  The answer is that there are lots of opportunities for you to serve in our local community.  In these dire economic times, it is more important than ever to reach out to our fellow human beings.  This is especially true in Pennsylvania.  With the delay in budget approval, much of the money that social service agencies rely on has not been available.  That means cutting programs that help people. This also means that, more than ever, it falls to us to lend a hand to those in need.  Thomson believes that, “you have to start small to make a difference.”  There are opportunities to volunteer right here in Scranton at St. Francis Kitchen, homeless shelters, and food and clothing pantries. We will be holding numerous food drives throughout the semester to assist the food pantries that are struggling to make ends meet.  A spring break service trip is a wonderful chance for a longer period of service and perhaps a chance to make a difference in another part of our country.  It’s in taking these small steps, fighting poverty one person at a time, that we can eventually end global poverty.  Student Leader Megan Hannon knows the impact that one person can have. “Volunteering locally, even one time, can help fight global poverty,” said Ms. Hannon.

Even when presented with all of these ways to make a difference in our local community, placing it within a global context can seem overwhelming.  Amy Fotta realizes this, but has a hopeful answer to the feeling of hopelessness. “This is a very daunting call, until you consider the second part of the theme; ‘thinking globally; acting locally,” she said. “Rather than feeling overwhelmed and helpless in the face of the seemingly insurmountable challenges of confronting Global Poverty, allow the recognition of great need be a call to action and response to the ‘poverty’ we face right in our own community.  Serve and learn; Learn and serve!”