Njeri Clement is a student leader at Saint Cloud State University. During her time at SCSU, she’s been involved in multiple groups on campus and is a program intern with Volunteer Connection. She shared some of her insights from her work with us:
What have you enjoyed most about your civic engagement work?
Civil engagement work has enabled me to advance common good for the betterment of society. As a Program Intern with Volunteer Connection Office, I work with volunteers to plan and implement community engagement events and activities for St. Cloud State University students. This has helped me gain a unique set of experiences, memories and formed new friendships.
What is the Women on Wednesday Series that you recently spoke at?
Women on Wednesday (WOW) series highlights the voices of a diverse, intelligent, savvy and creative group of women. This semester included just young women and was designed to feature diverse experiences, perspectives, and life decisions of women, 30 years and younger. I was invited to talk about the intersection of multiple identities, experiences and background that have influenced my life as a black woman, woman of color, immigrant woman and a daughter.
What other projects and groups are you involved in on campus and in the community?
I am a board member of NGATHA International, a non for profit organization registered in MN and Kenya, whose foremost objective is to give the most destitute and at-risk-orphans whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS a home-like atmosphere that will cater to their total well-being. I am also a member of SCSU Women’s Action student organization.
Does the civic engagement work that you do inform your academic learning?
For my internship project this semester, I organized a women series of workshops entitled ‘Connecting Local Women to African Women through Arts and Education whose main objective was to sensitize the local in this case St. Cloud about the challenges and experiences of African women living in the US and Africa. Narratives of women in the conference illuminated how African women continue to grapple with traditional, economic and political structures that inhibit their pursuit for education, suffer alienation and exclusion from society. This helped me understand better and connect with the discussions held in my ‘Women and Development in Third World’ class that am taking this semester.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
• Having completed my master’s degree in public policy and pursuing a PhD program
• Working in nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, private organizations or government agencies
What is the most surprising thing you found through your civic engagement work?
Service projects involve crossing some cultural line which entails confronting generalizations I have for people I meet. This has enabled me to find respect and understanding in myself and look for the same in others to create bonds and break barriers.