A growing GenUN inspires local student leaders

After a year of rapid expansion, GenUN is empowering their growing network of students to take action for global initiatives in their local communities.

By Jane St. John

According to UNA-USA youth engagement manager Anna Mahalak, GenUN is on a mission “to connect a network of youth leaders to advocate for global UN issues in their local communities.” On a day-to-day basis that translates to creating new chapters at universities, starting student organizations, and supporting the UN’s sustainable development goals, among other important initiatives. 

By all accounts, 2016 was a major growth year for GenUN. They opened 20 new campus chapters (expanding their footprint by nearly 50%), appointed an influential U.S. Youth Observer to the UN to connect with new audiences, and created a winning content strategy in the form of survey-informed chapter tools to educate leaders, as well as inspirational student stories on their blog, all powered by NationBuilder. 

With those successes in place, Mahalak and her team aim to encourage students toward advocacy for the causes that matter to them. They plan to expand their website to cover an even broader array of global issues and follow up with students who have reached out in the past, giving them specific ways to take action. 

“While growing is still important,” Mahalak says, “we need to make sure that we sustain these new chapters. Students are only on campus for three or four years, so tracking through NationBuilder who the new leaders are is really important to us.” Fortunately, they have a powerful tool to pass the baton to new students as they continue to advocate for a variety of causes.

Images courtesy of GenUN
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Download the NationBuilder Year in Review 2016