Globalization has us feeling closer than ever to our planet and its people, and with this comes the desire to be an active member of our global community.
The United Nations Development Program at the University of Toronto (UNDP U of T) gives students the opportunity to become actively involved with worthwhile causes around the world. And for that, they’re our Student Group Of The Week!
UNDP U of T allows students to take a stand and make positive changes. It provides them with a platform to feel purposeful and empowered when it comes to pressing global issues, such as women’s rights, hunger and the environment.
Maneesha Gupta, President and Founder of the group, shared her insights about how getting involved in UNDP and organizations like it is great for students – beyond knowing that they’re making the world a better place. Maneesha is currently pursuing a degree as a Political Science Specialist at the University of Toronto.
Tell us about your group.
Maneesha: UNDP U of T exists to shine light on global issues in alignment with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This makes the UNDP U of T an excellent opportunity for leaders at the University of Toronto to grow both personally and professionally. Our aim is to support the work of the UNDP around the world, and we are committed to equipping the leaders of tomorrow with the skills and support required to to thrive in a professional environment.
How does your group help students hatch their careers?
Maneesha: We aim to empower students with the knowledge of positive changes taking place around the world. We are a platform for our student body to rise above and beyond their academic know-how and take action in the global community. We provide the resources, training and professional environment for students to refine their communication, analytical and leadership skills. Members also have the chance to meet individuals who possess diverse mindsets and share a passion for global development.
Before joining, how should students decide which student groups will provide the best experience for them?
Maneesha: I would advise against joining several groups, which can make it impossible to contribute anything of value. Put your efforts into one group and be an asset to this organization. Be realistic about how much time you will have to commit and plan accordingly. Explore your options by attending open houses or browse your school’s website for a directory of potential candidates. Try to meet a team member and ask questions.
What has been your most memorable experience with the group so far?
Maneesha: That would have to be our first Open House. I was overwhelmed by the energy from the large audience. I was ecstatic with the turnout as well as the level of involvement of the attendees. It’s really a cool feeling when you finally get to see an event towards which you have worked for months materialize and be a success.
What valuable experience/skills have you gained?
Maneesha: I would have to say that good time management is among the most valuable skills I have acquired through my extra-curricular involvement. In addition, working in a team and having to deal with diverse personality types, I became a better listener and learned to pay particularly close attention to the strengths and weaknesses of individuals.
Why is it important for students to get involved in groups such as yours on campus?
Maneesha: In order to become refined professionals we need to continually develop our communication and leadership skills. I believe the best way to grow is to explore our potential through making contributions and becoming active members of our community. Student groups are a fun opportunity for self-discovery, and provide the chance to expand your network.
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