Hamel Scholars Host Governor Chris Sununu
Over 50 Hamel Scholars welcomed Governor Chris Sununu to a luncheon that gave them opportunities to ask the Governor's thoughts on issues ranging from immigration to sustainable agriculture--and to take a few selfies, too.
After being introduced by Dylan Wheeler '20, Sununu highlighted the advantages of living in a small state, where access to legislators is easy. He praised New Hampshire for its "small-government" approach: "The government shouldn't be guaranteeing much--except opportunity." The state's biggest challenge, he said, is growing its workforce. "My goal is when you walk out of here today you wouldn't even think about leaving New Hampshire," he told the students.
The youngest governor in the nation, Sununu has formed a Millennial Advisory Council, headed by UNH alumnus Alex Fries. While retaining millennial workers is crucial to the state, he said, "I still don't know how millennials make decisions." In answer to a question from Junior Alex Thorpe, he noted that his administration is exploring how housing and transportation could be made more attractive to younger people, and that he thinks there should be far more internships for college students in order to create connections with local employers.
Thorpe appreciated the response, especially Sununu's mention of debt-repayment programs for graduates who stay in NH. "I learned from the luncheon that Governor Sununu wants government to work for the individual, which I think is very important and noble. I am very thankful that he took the time to visit the Hamel Scholars here at UNH, speak with us, and listen to our individual perspectives," he said.
Sununu returned to Concord with a new UNH t-shirt, presented by Ashley LeBlanc '19. "I'll be honest, I get a lot of t-shirts," he told the students. "But I'm going to wear this one!"
Beginning with a panel at Comcast’s Northeast Division, the students had a chance to see some of the many employment opportunities that New Hampshire has to offer. After a question and answer session, the students received a tour of the Comcast facility as well as a product demonstration.
Over lunch at UNH Manchester, the students listened to a panel of distinguished guests, all of whom are UNH alumni, which included:
- former governor John Lynch, currently a clinical professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College;
- The Honorable Joyce Craig, mayor-elect of Manchester;
- Paul Ramsey, the VP of Operations at Eversource;
- and Steve Singlar, the President and founder of Single Digits in Bedford NH.
The panelists discussed their career path, why they chose New Hampshire to live and work, and gave advice to students who will soon be entering the job market or graduate education. These panelists represent a range of careers and accomplishments for which UNH students can strive for.
The day ended with a trip to Eversource, a New Hampshire energy provider, where students were able to tour the facility and inquire about employment opportunities. Additionally, they were able to get more information about how the company functions and provides power to the people of New Hampshire.
This successful event allowed students to meet and connect with industry leaders from multiple fields, as well as learn about what exciting opportunities are available in New Hampshire!
|From left: Devin McMahon, Alana Davidson, Eden Suoth, Dana Hamel, Paige Balcom, Emily Balcom, Crystal Napoli, and Ian MacKay,|
Several members of the Hamel Scholars Program travelled to Boston to honor philanthopist Dana Hamel, the program's benefactor. The New England Board of Higher Education recognized Mr. Hamel with the New Hampshire State Merit Award. The Board noted Mr. Hamel's endowment of the Hamel Scholarships and Hamel Scholars Program, which benefited from a major gift last year; his earlier gifts to the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research and the Hamel Student Recreation Center; and his service on the investment and finance committees of the UNH Foundation, as well as the New Hampshire Historical Society.
Devin McMahon, Alana Davidson, Eden Suoth, Paige Balcom, Emily Balcom, Crystal Napoli, and Ian MacKay, all recipients of Hamel Scholarships, joined a group of UNH staff and faculty at the awards ceremony.
Elite students from two universities teamed up on Saturday, November 17, joining forces to work for the global good. Members of the Hamel Scholars Program at the University of New Hampshire, a group of Honors Program students who are committed to leadership and service, and the Honors Leadership Development Scholars at the University of Southern Maine organized a joint day of service, with the goal of building bridges across state lines while making contributions that extend into the rest of the world.
The students spent the day with Partners for World Health, a Portland-based nonprofit organization that recycles medical supplies to support healthcare access in developing countries in Asia and South America. This organization was chosen to host the event because it is entirely volunteer run: PWH depends on the time and energy of local volunteers to fulfill its admirable mission.
"This collaboration is a first for UNH and USM honors students," said Sara Clarke-Vivier, the coordinator of UNH's Hamel Scholars Program. "It provides them with a great opportunity to strengthen their personal networks by meeting other local students who are engaged in service work.”
“The story of Partners for World Health is also an amazing one for these students to hear: this organization, with a powerful international reach, was started by a Portland-based nurse who saw that what was taken for granted and disposed of in the medical communities here could have a powerful and transformative impact on medical access for people around the world," Clarke-Vivier continued.
About 40 student volunteers spent Saturday sorting, processing, and packaging medical and school supplies to be shipped to Partners for World Health collaborators around the world. Students compiled packs of pencils, notebooks, textbooks and backpacks for Syrian refugee students living in Turkey. Others processed and packaged oxygen masks, surgical supplies, and hospital draping for use by medical professionals in several African countries as well as Burma.
“This work was really hard, but since you knew what, and who, you were doing it for, it was really worth it,” said Megan Verfaillie, a first-year student at UNH.
Elizabeth McLellan, PWH’s founder, told the volunteers that she is always looking to grow the volunteer base for her organization, but urged the students to make a sustained commitment to any work in which they find meaning-“Find something you believe it,” she said, “and follow that path. Walk over the bumps in the road because you know the service you are doing is worth it.”
This is the first time UNH and USM have joined together to broaden their impact through collaborative volunteerism. "Regional collaboration among public universities is a win-win for everyone involved: students, faculty, and communities. Our honors students get to meet and exchange ideas with other bright, ambitious students, while addressing important community needs," explained Jerry Marx, the director of the UNH Honors Program and a longtime Portland resident.