In the summer of 2015, student leader Tricia from Mount Mary University, Wisconsin, joined Millennium Campus Network (MCN) at its seventh annual Millennium Campus Conference (MCC)—MCC15—at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City. MCC15 was the most comprehensive and impactful MCC yet and connected over 450 student leaders and change-makers from over 50 countries. A grant from The Jenzabar Foundation enabled Hohnl and 94 other student leaders to partake in the five-day conference.
“I went into the conference with little knowledge of what to expect, but MCC15 was an experience that changed my life!” says Hohnl.
Founded in 2007 by student leaders Sam Vaghar and Seth Werfel, MCN’s mission is to “train the next generation of global development leaders to rethink the paradigms that perpetuate inequality, promote a human-centric and collaborative approach, and transform dialogue into action.” MCN programs are intended to nurture essential values such as empathy, humility and service. Upon these principles, MCN created MCC, a thriving conference for young world-changers.
Hohnl felt out of her element in the beginning. “Being from a very small town in the Wisconsin, New York was a change to say the least,” she says.
The conference was as jarring as the city at first. “My friend and I sat in a room full of people who seemed to be way more successful than ourselves. They have started their own nonprofits and were making a difference in the world. And there we were, two girls from Wisconsin whose biggest accomplishment was getting to New York on a plane by ourselves.”
As the conference went on, though, Hohnl and her friend grew more comfortable and realized that the potential for making a difference in the world was in them, too.
“We were meeting people from all over the world who had something to say and were willing to listen to our small stories,” says Hohnl. “We ended up meeting two girls from South Africa who started a nonprofit for women empowerment called ‘In Our Shoes.’” Hohnl and her friend were so inspired by In Our Shoes that they joined the campaign.
“We have monthly meetings to discuss things that can empower women,” says Hohnl. “We recently just had our first international web chat and discussed each other’s progress. On our campus, we have various clubs and organizations working on projects and have written several articles about them for the school magazine. Now we can call ourselves the successful people who are making a difference!”
It’s fair to say that MCC15 changed the trajectory of Hohnl’s life. “Without this amazing opportunity of going to MCC15, my friend and I would still be two girls from a small town in Wisconsin. Now, we are young professionals working globally to make a change in our world. I am so thankful to The Jenzabar Foundation for making this trip a reality for me and many other students!”
Student Leader Tricia Hohnl
To learn about this year’s conference, MCC16, at Howard University in Washington D.C., taking place August 1st-5th, please visit http://www.mcc16.org. To learn more about MCC15 at the United Nations and other MCN programs, visit the MCN’s webpage at http://www.mcnpartners.org/.