“The trip was an incredible experience for our students to learn about human rights, economic development and global inequality, themes that strongly relate to the mission of the Holleran Center,” said Jennifer Fredricks, professor of human development and faculty director for the Center. “It also helped to build community and gave our students the chance to network with our amazing alumni.”
The daylong event began with a guided tour of the headquarters building, during which the students saw first-hand how the U.N. handles issues such as disarmament, security, human rights and economic development. The tour included stops in several assembly rooms; one of the rooms had a committee in session, and students were able to listen in on a private briefing about international women’s rights with members of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women.
They also ate lunch – with world leaders – in the delegate’s dining room.
“I say now that I’ve visited 193 countries, the number of countries that are part of the United Nations,” said Estefani Ignacio Gallegos ’16. The trip was Gallegos’s first visit to New York City.
“I also realized that the Holleran Center is the College’s version of the U.N.: We bridge the gap between the College and the New London community in the same way the U.N. brings countries together despite their differences.”
Following the tour of the U.N., the delegation of 38 Camels attended a reception at Pushcart Coffee, a restaurant and community gathering place run by former Holleran Center scholar James Rogers ’04. Current students were given the opportunity to speak with 12 alumni about their Connecticut College experience and how their careers have progressed since graduation.
“Many alumni told me that if it wasn’t for the Holleran Center, they wouldn’t be where they are now. I feel reassured that joining the Center is the best thing I could have done,” said Gallegos, who is interested in the role of health care in preventing lead contamination in Hispanic populations.
Alumni were equally impressed with the students, who told them about the ambitious research projects they are undertaking as part of the Holleran Center curriculum.
“I was blown away by their passions and ambitions for the future. Their Holleran Center project topics are extremely diverse, and it’s obvious they’ve put in a lot of thought and extensive research,” said Jamie Honohan ’13.
The Holleran Center also visited the United Nations in 2013, and has hosted other recent events to engage alumni and strengthen relationships between alumni and current students. A Boston-area networking event is planned for the spring.