The University of New Hampshire's Amnesty International Club

The University of New Hampshire's Amnesty International Club

Does the idea of helping to save victims of unnecessary violence sound rewarding to you? Are you interested in learning about challenges to human rights, both in the USA and abroad? Would you like to meet some friendly individuals who are passionate about helping others?  If so, I suggest you take a look at UNH’s Amnesty International club.  I joined, and I’m so happy I did.

I discovered Amnesty International through essays and projects I completed in high school, on the death penalty.  One of Amnesty International’s goals is to rid the world of capital punishment.  I identify with this mission, but if you don’t, or if the idea of taking a stance on such a controversial issue intimidates you, Amnesty is involved in many other human rights issues, including protecting free speech, and protecting the rights of children.  If, however, you are interested in making your voice heard on such a controversial topic, going to Amnesty International-affiliated events is a fantastic way to meet like-minded people.   It was by attending an anti-death penalty event that I realized others share my opinion, and do so passionately.  While exposing oneself to differing opinions is also important, as college is a great place to see, hear, and try new things, the experience was gratifying.  For me, it was new to meet people who care about what I care about, and it made me feel much more confident in the strength of my voice.

I found out UNH has an Amnesty International club by attending this event, and I was blown away by what the members of the club had accomplished, from organizing tables representing different anti-capital punishment organizations, to bringing in many different and compelling guest speakers.  I was especially moved by the speech of Kirk Bloodsworth, a falsely convicted and condemned man, who had been exonerated from death row.  The event went so smoothly it seemed effortless, but it was the AI club’s hard work that made it all come together.  This was when I knew I wanted to become a member.

Kirk Bloodsworth 2

Since joining, I’ve looked up and discussed current events I hadn’t previously known very much about, such as prison camps of North Korea, and US military drones.  I’ve also been able to get to know more about water scarcity, the topic the club is focusing on now, through watching a documentary, helping to host a test where students see if they can identify tap versus bottled water by taste, and decorating a giant cardboard water bottle.  On Saturday, I was able to go to an Amnesty International conference at Boston University, and I learned quite a bit about violence towards women, as well as more about capital punishment.  All in all, I’ve had wonderful time learning about challenges faced in different parts of the world, and getting to know some inspiring people.