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UT Junior Becomes Oxfam CHANGE Leader

Published: August 10, 2010
Growing up in Trinidad, Christine Merry ’11 knew early on that her goal was to get an education and find a way to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

After spending a week in Boston as one of 50 students chosen nationally for the Oxfam CHANGE Initiative, she is fired up about social justice.

“I knew that the CHANGE Initiative would help me turn my ambitions and dreams into a reality,” said Merry, a double major in finance and management, who was inspired by the people she met and fed off of everyone’s energy and enthusiasm. “They helped us set goals and focus on what we wanted to work on and then helped us set up a plan to achieve it.”

The CHANGE Initiative is a leadership and advocacy training program for college students who want to be involved in Oxfam America’s work against global poverty and injustice. The program is year-long and is highly competitive. Back on campus, CHANGE leaders commit to implementing one Oxfam-specific public advocacy campaign.

“I'm definitely going to bring back as much information as I can about what's going on in the world,” said Merry. “I am going to set up an Oxfam group on campus and spread the word about extractive industries, climate change and the economic crisis.”

Merry isn’t new to volunteering. As a volunteer coordinator for PEACE (People Exploring Active Community Experience), she held a book drive for Better World Books and brought former child soldiers to campus to tell their story in the Invisible Children program.

“Christine has found a professional passion in making positive change,” said Megan Frisque, assistant director of civic engagement. “She is reaching out to UT students who may not typically participate in service-related initiatives.”

Merry admits to finding her passion for change and attributes that to PEACE, which she says, “has really changed my life.”

“I believe that anyone can become a change maker once they find their passion. Passion truly drives the mind and body to entirely other limits,” Merry said. “It’s an amazing experience to finally find my passion for making change in the world.”

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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