By: Gabriel Risk Martins, GenUN Fellow - Western Region
The following is an interview with former UNA-USA CSU Fullerton President Marco Sanchez.
Gabriel Risk Martins: Please tell us more about the CSU Fullerton Chapter, how did you get involved with it?
Marco Sanchez: UNA-USA CSUF was founded during my freshman year of college in 2014. When I first heard about the chapter, I was very interested in learning more about the opportunities that were available for students to get involved with the United Nations Association. Since then, I have grown to become an active member serving as Digital Media Coordinator, Vice President, President, and now Project Director. Our intentions when we formed the chapter was to engage students to "Act Local and Aim Global". Today, I can proudly say that we have done just that. Since our chapter's inception, we have participated in community events, engaged with both students and faculty members, advocated to our local representatives, and raised money for international issues. I have seen our chapter grow in many ways, and I cannot wait to see how it will continue to grow in the future.
GRM: The CSU Fullerton Chapter has continued to extend its membership, what has been your most successful recruitment method?
MS: Currently, we have 40-50 active members and over 200 subscribed to our emailing list. This year we have recruited through participating in the campus club rush. We have also reached out to faculty and held presentations in classes to advertise club meetings; particularly, classes involved in global issues. in addition, we have also kept in contact with UNA Orange County chapter. They have been helpful in getting us connected with other likeminded young people who care about the United Nations as well.
GRM: What has your Chapter mainly focused on this past year?
MS: Our chapter's focus is how can we work at a local level to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In order to achieve that, we have four committees in our chapter that students have the opportunity in focusing on. These committees are divided by common themes, including Peace and Security, Energy and Climate, Women and Girls, and Global Health. Currently, UNA-USA CSUF is collaborating with other local chapters, the campus community, and other non-profits to achieve these similar goals.
GRM: What type of events has your Chapter put together?
MS: This year, our chapter's focus was on the "Adopt A Future" campaign and on advocacy for a strong US-UN partnership. Keeping this theme in mind, we hosted various events including our Adopt a Future brunch, a Peacekeeper awareness day, and a "White Helmets" movie night; all of which were centered around the current Refugee Crisis. In addition, our chapter urged many of our students to advocate to their local representatives about certain UN issues that they were particularly passionate about. Furthermore, many of our students also had the incredible opportunity of advocating to Congressman Ed Royce, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and former CSUF alumni. During our meeting, we expressed our concern for keeping a strong US-UN partnership for many years to come.
GRM: From all your Chapter have accomplished this year, what are you most proud of?
MS: Firstly, I am most proud of the social progress that UNA has made at CSUF. Through the help of our members we have been able to outreach to hundreds of students, faculty, and community members. Additionally, we have been able to make our voices heard to our elected officials. I am also most proud of the focus and trajectory that our chapter has decided to take in regards to the current Refugee Crisis. Since January 2017, our chapter has not only educated our students about this issue, but we have also been able to raise over $1000 for the Adopt a Future campaign, and we plan on raising more this upcoming semester as well! It has truly been a great year for GenUN, and I look forward to the future opportunities that await our chapter next school year.
GRM: What are the next steps for your chapter this semester? Any exciting events coming to fruition?
MS: This semester we are doubling our financial goals for the Adopt-a-Future Campaign. In order to reach this goal, GenUN is coordinating multiple fundraisers and events. The largest event we have planned is our "United Nations 72nd Anniversary Gala" in which we will be working with the UNA Orange County Chapter to raise awareness about the Adopt a Future Campaign and celebrate the progress of the United Nations. In addition, our club will be continuing coordination with other community organizations and campus clubs to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through future campus events. In addition, our goal is to increase chapter membership while continuing to make positive impact in our local and global community.