By Dara Sabry
On May 7, AUC will hold a Civic Engagement Day that aims at raising awareness about the fact that people can help their community beyond donating or giving money to charities. All an individual needs to give is their time.
The basic premise of Civic Engagement is that anyone can help their community by donating their free time, while having a bit of fun in the process. This day is organized by the Gerhart Youth Leadership program, and will be divided into four parts; a Volunteer Fair, a Blood Drive, a Film Competition, and a Community Based Learning (CBL) Showcase.
The volunteer fair will have 19 participating NGOs that will have the chance to educate participants about the various causes they support, as well as ways to get involved in their organizations. According to Safeya Zeitoun, one of the students helping organize the event, one of the many ways students can get involved is by volunteering during the summer. This will be important for the students who are staying in Cairo or are looking for summer jobs.
According to Nariman Emara, another student helping with the organization of the event, the NGO volunteers are there to “help students to get involved in their community [Sic]” as well as “take a step and commit to a cause.”
Another part of the day, that might seem less appealing to students, is the blood drive. Many are uncomfortable with the thought of needles, but Emara stresses the importance of giving blood, commenting, “your blood will regenerate, so why not give out blood? It’s like giving out a part of you.”
Many hold the inaccurate belief that blood should be donated only during a time of crisis. Therefore, one target of the blood drive is to encourage people to donate blood at any time as there is always need for blood transfusions since there are shortages of supplies in hospitals.
Another major event of the day is the film competition, where students will display videos they made of what they think “Civic Engagement” is. These videos are simple and showcase each student’s creativity and imagination. The winners are chosen according to the majority’s vote and the person, or group, that wins first place receives LE 3,000 for their hard work.
The last segment of the day is the CBL showcase. Rana Hegazi, who is responsible for the showcase, says that the showcase itself is a culmination of projects completed by the students who are taking CBL classes. These projects vary from presentations, websites, videos and more. These CBL classes range from RHET courses to sociology and psychology; so, they cover a wide range of subjects.
The aim for the Civic Engagement Day is to introduce AUC students to new ways to reach out to the Egyptian society and become engaged members of their community. Hegazi said that “we’re all privileged in one way or another and we have the time and energy to help out, so why not?”