For our LEAF fellowship, my fellow LEAFers and I had to come up with a project that brought attention to a specific international issue/event. We considered a number of issues and event concepts but we ended up choosing a day in which we LEAFers would stand on the South Oval in all black and inform the OU public on the atrocities and number of refugees that were generated by the Syrian conflict. We laid out flags to demonstrate the number of refugees that didn’t make it through their journey. We additionally created a pathway that went down half the length of the South Oval, where markers told the story of a Syrian refugee Hassan–from his start in Syria to his relocation in Europe. We additionally had a table with pamphlets and a spinning wheel for the interactive use of any passerby (spinning wheel made up of final location percentages of the refugees).
Apparently this Syria Day was the best LEAF event that the programme had had. I enjoyed taking part in the demonstration but if I were to make any suggestions to the next year of LEAFers, it would be to attempt to go bigger. By chance, all of the individuals chosen for the fellowship this year were women. We are all or just finished studying international area or security studies. We all had so many questions about our fields but so little answers, due to the clandestine nature of government analysis jobs. I think we could have had many of the individual women bring in their mentors via Skype, FaceTime, or in person to talk about their experiences. We could have fundraised or found sponsors to fund a conference of sorts. The more I think about it, the more I realize we did have time to plan that type of event. The LEAF programme is so great because of the funding it provides for us poor college students, but it also brings together beautiful likeminded people that have similar goals. Getting to know my fellow LEAFers has been such a blessing. I used to not be able to understand Greek life, but after meeting my LEAF girls, I really got an understanding of sorority women and their ex-Greek parents people pay so much money for them to be with likeminded girls: BECAUSE IT’S DOPE.
Empowering your fellow woman is such an awesome feeling, and being empowered by another strong, intelligent woman feels just as amazing!