Several student ambassadors have been chosen to facilitate the Year of Social Change.

Caitlin O’Brien-Rice

My name is Caitlin O’Brien-Rice and I’m a senior, with a Communication Arts major and History minor. I am involved in working with Greek life and Alumni Affairs at Allegheny College. Since my introduction to Greek life, I have been passionate about empowering the members of my organization to take advantage of every opportunity that allows them a chance to grow and learn from their experiences inside and out of the classroom. The Year of Social Change is a way for me to continue to challenge not only the members of Greek life, but also the campus community at large, to overcome the "I can't be bothered" excuse and make it their business to make great things happen that have a positive effect on people's lives.

Katy Orchowski

Hi. I'm Katy Orchowski. I'm a senior with a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology, and a minor in French. I've lived college life fully, going on two alternative spring break trips where we worked on community service projects, and participating in the Collegiate Leadership Conference, and Relay for Life fundraiser. Inspired by a study tour to India, my legacy at Allegheny has been to start a student organization called Growing Hearts, Growing Minds. GHGM is working with underdeveloped communities in India to enable them to transform their lives through basic education, healthcare, and micro-finance projects. My goal through and beyond the Year of Social Change is to change the face of poverty, one village at a time.

Kathleen Prosperi

Hi, my name is Kathleen Prosperi and I am a major in Communication Arts and a minor in psychology. I really enjoy being involved with volunteer groups here at Allegheny. I am a member of Circle K and help with the Special Olympics through this group. I am a site supervisor with America Reads and this year will be my first year being a tutor with the Crawford County READ program. This past summer I went to India on an Experiential Learning term through ACCEL. Although I had been involved with service at Allegheny, this really jump-started my interest in actively working for social change. As a part of that course, we raised money for a village 2.5 hours outside Mumbai, India. I supervised a finals week care package event and helped out with the other fundraising events that were supervised by other students on our trip. By raising almost $3,000 it really showed me how much change can be brought about by just a group of students. This fall I am a part of a group that is continuing to fundraise for villages in India. We started a group called "Growing Hearts, Growing Minds" and will continue to raise money through various fundraisers. We are excited to start this legacy on Allegheny's campus and to peak interest in social change around the world. I am excited for the Year of Social Change to give the Allegheny and Meadville community different perspectives on what social justice really means. I hope that I will be able to impact others and their view of social justice. My goal is to help others believe that everyone is able to have an impact on how the world operates.

Jessie Coven

I am Jessie Coven, currently a senior completing a self-designed double major in Communication Arts and Dance and Movement Studies, with a minor in Psychology. I have enjoyed participating in multiple leadership and service activities that have taught me important life skills. Some of my college activities have included being a Resident Advisor, office assistant, choreographer/dancer, and Risk Management Chair of Delta Delta Delta. In the future, I hope to pursue a teaching career so I can positively impact young people’s lives through education. During the Year of Social Change, I would personally like to see more interest and participation in the fine arts programs on campus, particularly dance. Whether it is through dance, visual arts, or music, I believe that self-discovery and the creative exploration of cultural issues are vital in getting people to imagine new possibilities that can transform themselves and the communities that they are a part of.

Lydia Gearhart

I'm Lydia Gearhart and I'm a senior--double majoring in Environmental and Women's Studies. If my friends had to describe me in three words they would say I am: passionate, intuitive and creative. I would describe myself as a total oxymoron: a small town girl who has been around the world. On campus I'm involved in Greek life and currently represent the Panhellenic community as Vice President of Recruitment...on any given day you'll probably catch me at Pampered Palate where I can identify and name each variety of baked good on display with just a glance (my favorite? mmm any seasonal coffee coupled with a Banana Bran or Cranberry Nut muffin--really, you should try it). Where do my values and sense of justice come from, you ask? Maybe I was just born this way, or maybe growing up in a politically active family--coupled with having a parent in a wheelchair and seeing adversity faced first hand--calibrated my bearings of social justice. Traveling with the Institute for Shipboard Education has also influenced me by providing the opportunity to travel and see first hand some of the issues faced by good people everywhere--single parents in South Africa, street kids in India, and landless workers in Brazil. But, don't think I've lost focus on some of the issues affecting our local community; last summer, as the Farhner Community Engagement Intern, I analyzed the local foods market and brainstormed ways to encourage the involvement of underrepresented consumer populations in the Meadville area. And, I hope to do my senior project on something involving women and sustainability. Final thought: I believe in it!

Sylvia Kauffman

My name is Sylvia Kauffman, and I am a senior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in philosophy. On campus, I am involved in a variety of organizations and activities including International Club, Wind Symphony, Chorus, Alternative Spring Break, and I will be a Unite For Sight Campus Representative this year. I have also participated in social activism as a Kalinga Charity Eye Hospital Volunteer (India), a Coalition Against Child Labor Volunteer (India), and a counselor at a camp for children with muscular dystrophy. I enjoy traveling, music, reading, volunteering, learning about new cultures, and exploring ethics and development. In an increasingly global society, I believe it is absolutely crucial to instill an understanding of relativism, an openness to change, and a global perspective in the minds of all future leaders. While the current era boasts incredible technological feats and scientific capability, it has also ushered in a more drastic disparity between rich and poor than the world has ever seen. To me, social change involves thinking about specific, current, and relevant problems in the world, thinking about ways to fix the problems, and taking action at as many levels as possible. "You must be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

Sarah Gentile

My name is Sarah Gentile and I am currently a senior completing a major in Communication Arts with a minor in Art and the Environment. I’ve been a member of ACTV (Allegheny’s student-run, closed circuit television station) for three years and I have also worked as a Davies Service Leader for Allegheny’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED). My experience with CEED, as well as a study abroad course in India this past summer, have not only exposed me to a number of issues our global society faces today, but have also shown me how much good a group of people can do when they work together to find solutions to those issues. As an ambassador for the Year of Social Change, I hope to work creatively with my peers to expose others to these things I have come to realize so that they might feel as inspired as I.

Jinnie Templin

I'm Jinnie Templin, and I'm a junior majoring in Communication Arts, with a minor in Economics. I'm a sister of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and serve as our Senior Panhellenic Delegate to the Allegheny Panhellenic Council. I am also involved in the College Democrats and the Allegheny College Young Feminists. Last year I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip to Topsail Island-- it was one of the most eye-opening and rewarding experiences of my life. I spend most of my time on campus either in the Campus Center or the Vukovich (I believe I have slept in both buildings... oops.) When I have free time (or, let's face it, when I'm procrastinating piles of work...) I love curling up in my bed with a good book, or sitting around my kitchen table having ridiculous conversations with my friends. I'm not a morning person, but I have to admit that a grande caramel silk is a nice motivation when I have to be awake. :) As cliche as it might sound, the 2008 election was what really inspired me to be an instigator of change. For the first time, I really felt as though actions I had taken part in on behalf of a cause I was so incredibly passionate about actually paid off. I saw results. I have realized what a privileged life many of us lead, and love the feeling of helping others-- It's probably the best natural high there is. I'm all about activism and changing the world, and I'm all about helping other people realize that every little thing does count. I think that it's time for our generation to step up and help people who could never imagine leading the lives we do. In case you couldn't tell, I'm also a bit of an idealist-- but I've never really considered that a bad thing.