Engage your community by engaging yourself

Magda Núñez is a student studying Communications at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL) with a double degree in Marketing at the San Ignatius University (SIU) in Miami. Magda talks about about how to better engage with your community on sustainability.
Imagine your bedroom is under reconstruction, a private company is in charge of the new design and asks you to trust them and leave it in their hands. As much as you enjoy surprises, there is a part of you that wants to be involved in the process because it is your bedroom, your personal space, your own environment. When we think about our community, we should consider it as a bigger bedroom under reconstruction; although we have companies and organizations already fixing issues and designing new solutions, we can decide to aid in their process or even come out with a new proposal. We have to begin to take on our role as changemakers and sharpen our sight to identify needs in our community. Once we achieve that and it becomes our lifestyle, it would be easier to influence your community to engage in your local climate since the will be inspired both by your words and actions.

Most people believe that helping our community implies offering healthcare assistance or contributing to the battle against poverty. Even if these activities could be part of a communitarian initiative, they do not answer to the needs of every nation, or even the towns inside of it. Therefore, as a first step towards improving our local climate, we have to acknowledge that even in the wealthiest and most developed environment improvements can be made and change is needed. Whether it is to make sure every household has free access to clean water, or also if it is to educate the community on waste management. From that point onward, it is up to us if we involve ourselves in the solution, but the truth is that someone always has to take the first step, and if we are able to do it, why wait for another person?

If now you are feeling motivated – and I really hope you do – I will give you some factors you should take into consideration to better engage with your community:

Promote educational campaigns that teach about the Sustainable Development Goals elaborated by the United Nations, these are key to understand the needs in your surroundings, and also to be more aware and inspired by how the international community is facing these challenges.

Sharing ideas
Sometimes we think that sharing our ideas for solutions might risk our authority over them, but in order to advance and improve in favor of your community, you have to receive feedback of other changemakers and experts. Furthermore, sometimes it is not necessary to invent a “new way”, instead you can recreate an existent and effective initiative, which is why we must share our ideas.

Interdisciplinary models
In order to build an integral and succeeding project with long-term effects, it is indispensable to include experts from different disciplines to contribute with their specific knowledge and complement each other. This in turn will result in the creation of interdisciplinary solution models that could focus not only on the social factor, but also the economic, environmental, political one, and so on.

As final remarks I would like to briefly share part of my experience of engaging with my community. I have always been service oriented, but I did not quite know how to contribute to my community; therefore, I decided to volunteer in different organizations, from environmental awareness campaigns to fundraising for social projects. Moreover, I searched for spaces at my university where I could continue volunteering, but also where I could create my own initiatives – such as the Sustainable Club. All of these activities helped me to develop more awareness on my community’s current situation, the needs they are facing, and how can I be part of the solution. With this I am trying to say that there are many ways to start engaging yourself in your local climate, and this is the first step to engage your community. Embrace your role as a changemaker and take the first step.
Delivered by EAUC