CHANGE trains college students to become actively engaged with Oxfam America’s work. Its goals: to broaden perspectives, inspire action, and shape a new generation of global citizens.
"It was an excellent, life-changing experience that bettered me as a person, a student, a leader, an engaged individual, and ultimately a global citizen."
—Trelaine Ito, 2010 CHANGE Leader
Each year, Oxfam’s CHANGE Initiative uses leadership and advocacy training to teach a select group of US college students about the global fight against poverty, hunger, and injustice. Students then transform this knowledge into action on campus and in their communities.
CHANGE Leaders’ commitment to making a difference often goes far beyond the one-year program. They’ve attended meetings of the World Trade Organization and the G8 leaders, spoken at the UN Youth Assembly, and founded two independent national student organizations—to name just a few accomplishments.
Every year, Oxfam brings 50 CHANGE Leaders to Boston for a rigorous weeklong training that combines group activities, expert panels, and workshops with a multimedia teaching curriculum. The leadership training program builds students’ leadership skills, advocacy skills, and familiarity with Oxfam’s mission—and introduces them to sophisticated and powerful models for social change. Founded in 2000, CHANGE has trained more than 680 student leaders from more than 300 colleges and universities.
Campaigns on campus
After the training, CHANGE Leaders return to campus energized and ready to work on social justice issues. Oxfam staffers and a CHANGE campus adviser provide guidance to the student activists throughout the year.
Each CHANGE leader implements at least one Oxfam-specific public advocacy campaign on campus, covering issues like food justice; oil, gas, and mining; or disasters and poverty. Activities include building networks, organizing their peers to take political action, and hosting campus awareness events like teach-ins, panel discussions, art exhibits, and speakers’ tours.