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Humanitarian Action Club
From responding to natural disasters, to refugee support, to education and advocacy global crisis and concerns, students make the connection between their coursework and real, humanitarian needs on the ground.
- Each year, students organize a Walk in Their Shoes refugee camp experience to help raise awareness of the refugee crisis and to promote advocacy efforts.
- A spring break trip is offered each March for students to work with refugees at the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) resettlement areas in Texas.
- Fairfield participates in the conflict simulations offered by the Consortium for Humanitarian Service and Education (CHSE) each spring, providing students with the opportunity to experience what humanitarian work in a conflict zone entails.
- Fairfield participates in the biennial national skill-building JUHAN conference for undergraduate students of Jesuit universities.
- Students participate in Jesuit Refugee Services' (JRS) Advocacy Day, which includes briefings with congressional staff on issues related to refugees and migrants.
Humanitarian Action Fellows
Amelia Bowles ’24, Jackie Campbell ’24, Evan Keiser ’24, Julia Neal ’23, and Bobby Schattle ’25 are the 2022-23 JUHAN Fellows!
"My involvement in the Humanitarian Action Club and the Center for Social Impact has completely changed my experience at Fairfield University for the better. I have been able to pursue my passion for helping others and making an impact in my local and global community with my peers.”
— Magdalena Dutkowska '22
Class of '25
"Participating in the Humanitarian Action Club has inspired me to reach out and support the world around me locally and globally. I continue to gain knowledge about the active issues regarding national and international affairs and how to take a role in solving them. This organization has inspired so much motivation in me that I have taken a leadership role in working with the community around me to create change. I am learning how to be a more well-rounded and culturally aware leader. Refining these skills will help me help others as I enter into a career in speech pathology."
— Bobby Schattle '25
Major: Behavioral Neuroscience
Class of '24
"Being a part of the Humanitarian Action Club has increased my awareness on global issues and has given me the tools to make a real-world impact. Through being a fellow, member, and Humanitarian Action minor, I have gained confidence in my ability to advocate effectively and work collaboratively to inspire change. In tandem with my major in International Studies, this concentration in HA will further allow me to work cross-culturally as an advocate and policy maker throughout my future career."
— Amelia Bowles '24
Major: International Studies
Minor: Humanitarian Action
Class of '24
"Serving as a Humanitarian Action Fellow allows me to work with incredible members of my community while benefiting my local and global community. We have wonderful leaders within the Center for Social Impact to aid in our fundraising efforts. The Humanitarian Action Fellowship connects with my education courses, making them more interactive and interesting as I pursue my degree. I am grateful for this opportunity and to work with such supportive people."
— Jackie Campbell '24
Major: English & Public Relations
Minor: Educational Studies
Class of '24
"Over the past three years, the humanitarian action club has shown me how Fairfield students actively serve a plethora of organizations and communities around the world. My favorite part of leading the club is granting students the opportunity to bring their diverse backgrounds and passions into light with the resources provided through the Center for Social Impact."
— Evan Keiser '24
Major: Business Management
Minor(s): Economics and Humanitarian Action
Class of '23
"Being a Humanitarian Action Fellow has helped me pursue my academic and career interests because it pushes me to be more aware and have discussions about topics and events that are going on around the world that may be hard to talk about. By working as a fellow and with the Humanitarian Action Club, I am gaining more knowledge on the reality of what our world holds, not just what I see on a daily basis. I am striving to be a nurse, and by seeing different cultures, I hope to be able to use my knowledge and my expertise to help people who are less fortunate. This fellowship enables me to see different opportunities in which I can help and promote awareness, especially in healthcare."
— Julia Neal ‘23
Minor: Humanitarian Action
First Year Experience
Service & Simulations
United Nations Security Council Simulation Course: Each May during the intersession, a five-day, three-credit course simulating the UNSC’s annual debate on the Protection of Civilians is held on campus. As part of the simulation, students receive briefings on child protection from experts in the humanitarian field as well as training from the former Chief of the Secretariat of the UN to the Security Council. Students also visit the UN Headquarters in New York for a tour and briefings.
United Nations Global Citizenship Seminar: Offered each fall, the trip provides students with an insight into the inner workings of the UN as well as many of its sister agencies. In addition to touring the UN Headquarters building, students receive detailed briefings focusing on humanitarian issues, refugees and other forces behind global migration. On past trips, students have met with senior level administrators, representatives from the UN, UNICEF, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration. For more information about the next United Nations trip, contact Julie Mughal.
International Rescue Committee, Abilene, TX: Offered each spring, the trip provides students an opportunity to work with the International Rescue Committee in its work to help newly resettled refugee in Texas.
Working with refugees is an honor in itself. The portrayal of the refugee in America’s media is skewed and inaccurate. It seems that refugees are seen as helpless and vulnerable people. That perception of these people is far-fetched. More often than not, refugees are people who held well-balanced lifestyles with a steady job, income, educational background, families, social network and more. Tragic and unfortunate situations have occurred to them causing them to leave their lives behind them in their countries and to seek refuge in a foreign nation. With the refugee clients, I worked with the stories all had similarities, life dealt them a “bad hand”. It is important though to understand that all refugees hold distinct stories and no story is the same despite their similarities in country fled, refuge country, and more.
— Student reflection
Atlantica Hope: Offered each spring, a limited number of students are able to participate in the Consortium for Humanitarian Service and Education’s (CHSE) intensive hands-on simulation of a humanitarian relief operation.
My experience being involved with Atlantica Hope exceeded my expectations. I was able to put to use a combination of my nursing skills, mental health knowledge and leadership while being pushed out of my comfort zone…It was definitely an experience I will never forget and left with more confidence and skills than I ever thought possible.
— Student reflection
Life After Fairfield - Our Amazing Students!
Recent Fairfield alumni whose studies focused on humanitarian action have pursued careers in the humanitarian action field and graduate studies at leading institutions. For example:
Class of ’20
Tara Bailey ’20, joined AmeriCorps NCCC for one year following graduation, working with a team on projects in Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma to strengthen undeserved communities. She currently works for FEMA as an Emergency Management Specialist where she was deployed to New Orleans for Hurricane Ida relief, providing free temporary housing to disaster survivors. Tara is now based in Washington, D.C. to rebuild FEMA’s Leadership Development curriculum, reconstruct the agency’s employee qualification systems, and create a mentorship program.
Class of ’19
Timothy Salit ’19, majored in finance and minored in humanitarian action. Following graduation, Tim joined Deutsche Bank’s corporate and investment banking graduate training program in NYC. He is now an associate working with global teams to provide multinational corporations with foreign exchange, liquidity, and payment solutions. Leveraging his humanitarian action classes, he helps treasurers navigate different political social environments while also creating and executing environmental, social, and corporate governance strategies.
Class of ’17
Adrienne Sgarlato ’17, worked at the U.S. Department of State Following graduation. Adrienne then continued her studies at American University School of International Service to complete her Master’s in International Affairs: Global Governance, Politics, and Security. She now works at the U.S. Department of State Office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, managing more than $10 million in foreign assistance for anti-trafficking projects in West Africa.
Emma Cannon ’14
A JUHAN fellow at Fairfield, Emma Cannon ’14 double majored in international studies and Spanish with a focus on Latin America. Emma was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala for two years, where she worked in support of the Healthy Schools Project, a national initiative that aims to improve basic health and hygiene in primary school students in rural Guatemala. She received the JUHAN Humanitarian Citizenship Award in 2014. She currently works at University Research Co., LLC (URC) & Center for Human Services (CHS) Support Zika Response activities in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador and Jamaica. She is currently pursuing a degree in nursing.
Patience Mhlanga ’14
Patience Mhlanga ’14 currently serves as a Peace Corps Health Volunteer in rural Zambia. She lived in Zambia as a refugee for five years and was excited to be able to return to Zambia to serve in the Peace Corps. While at Fairfield, Patience tutored English and mentored middle school students in Bridgeport through the AmeriCorps Program. She then served full-time as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Minnesota through Minnesota Alliance with Youth organization. While in Minnesota and after discernment, Patience decided to pursue Theology at Duke University. From there, she joined the Peace Corps. In Zambia, she focused primarily on HIV and malaria prevention, nutrition, and sanitation. Patience also worked with women to develop activities to generate income for themselves and their families. Patience is a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow at George Washington University a Master’s in Public Health.
Julianne Whittaker '12
Julianne Whittaker '12 worked in the Humanitarian field in Jordan after completing an English Teaching Assistantship Fullbright in that country in 2013 and is the founder and co-director of the Amal Foundation which provides university scholarships for Syrian refugees in Jordan. She completed her Master's in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University in 2017. After graduating, she was a Catholic Relief Services (CRS) International Development Fellow in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and currently works for CRS as Livelihoods Program Manager in Iraq.
Julianne also received a Fulbright teaching scholarship to Jordan. Watch the video!