When Jane McMahon thinks of her time at the Y, a lot comes to mind. In particular, "It has meant my personal growth and just learning to speak up about my ideas," Jane says, who is Co-President of the Amnesty International-UIUC. "When I started as a freshman at the Y, I was too intimidated to give suggestions on events or disagree with other people's ideas. After three years serving on the executive boards I have learned to trust my own judgment and I am not afraid of criticism. If I see problems with event logistics or organization, I will say something in order to ensure that our event is the best that it can be."
The Y gives students like Jane McMahon the leadership opportunities to realize their full potential. This year, the Y would like to recognize Amnesty International for giving back and supporting the Y's overall work in promoting humane and sustainable global engagement. Student members of Amnesty agree that their biggest accomplishment this year has been around their fundraising efforts for the Y's Relief from Ebola campaign. Last fall, Amnesty's annual Jamnesty benefit show raised more funds than ever before because of their planning and outreach to local businesses for raffle prize donations, fundraising on the Main Quad, and expanding and encouraging ways to donate funds online as well. Because of their successful fundraising strategies, Amnesty was able to contribute $1,000 to the University YMCA's Relief from Ebola campaign, which overall provided $20,000 in humanitarian and ebola prevention efforts to Sierra Leone.
"I see Amnesty continuing to grow its membership now and developing a greater presence on campus," says Jane. "I think with our upcoming events for Sexual Assault Awareness Week we have the potential to become a major social justice group on campus."
Amnesty International is a worldwide organization of more than 2.2 million members working to promote and protect human rights for all people. The University YMCA is home to the UIUC chapter, which works works for social justice through demonstrations, lectures, petitions and letter-writing campaigns to governments at home and abroad.