Mobilizing to Reduce Disparities in Health Care

“We actually discovered that we were going to be able to get this family covered.”

Nick GoodwinEmory University

Studying abroad in Italy, Nick Goodwin became interested in disparities in the health-care system in the United States relative to other countries’. Back at Emory University, he created the Resource & Insurance Navigator Group, or RING, for students to connect underserved local families with social and medical resources, such as helping them apply for insurance under the Affordable C…


A Science Student Talks Her Way Onto the Model UN Team

“I was really interested in understanding how chemistry could fit into the puzzle of these societal interactions.”

Yemi MelkaAugsburg College

As a ninth grader in her native Ethiopia, Yemi Melka had to choose between studying science and social science. Now, on a college campus in Minnesota, she has found a way to combine her interests in chemistry and international relations, including through Model UN.

About this series: Say Something collects stories from college students about what they’…


In South Africa, an AIDS Orphan Becomes a Scholar

“Life hasn’t exactly dealt me the easiest of cards, but I’ve always tried to be a focused individual.”

Andile Justice MkontoHult International Business School

Growing up in South Africa, Andile Justice Mkonto dropped out of school at age 13 to care for his mother, who had AIDS. When she died, he says, he lost his way, running away from home and using drugs. With support from the Ubuntu Education Fund, he refocused his life and is now an undergraduate at Hult International Business School, in L…


For ‘Dreamers,’ In-State Tuition Can Mean Staying in College

The momentum didn’t really come out until the Dreamers started actually taking initiative and speaking for themselves.”

Giancarlo TelloRutgers University at Newark

Giancarlo Tello, whose family came to New Jersey from Peru when he was 6, is the campaign chair of a youth-led coalition that successfully lobbied last year for a state law allowing immigrants who are in the country illegally to pay lower in-state tuition rates. Mr. Tello had dropped out of Rutgers, unable to afford the out-of-stat…


A Student’s Slam Poem Goes Viral

That’s one thing I really love that poetry can do, is that it can bring these ideas together.”

Lily MyersWesleyan University

While home for winter break in 2012, Lily Myers channeled her frustrations about family dynamics involving gender, body image, and food into a poem, “Shrinking Women,” that she performed last spring at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The poem, in which she says she starts many questions in class with “Sorry,” has been viewed more than three million times on…


Where Do Homeless Students Go Over Winter Break?

“I was probably 17 when I realized that there was a term: unaccompanied homeless youth.”

Jessie McCormickAquinas College

After bouncing around and spending some nights outside, Jessie McCormick, a senior studying community leadership and sociology, resolved that other homeless students and those who had aged out of foster care wouldn’t face the same challenge over Aquinas’s three-week winter break. She petitioned the college for “break housing,” which it has pledged to provide this year in a l…


‘Coming Out’ as an Atheist at a Christian College

“Now that it’s out, it seems that our school can now really have that deeper conversation.”

Eric FrommNorthwest Christian University

Many students at Northwest Christian University, in Oregon, knew that their student-body president was an atheist. But when the news—and some misunderstandings—spread after Eric Fromm explained his beliefs to a classroom of freshmen, he decided to “come out” in the student newspaper.

About this series: Say Something collects stories from college students about wh…


An Academic Schedule for Working Professionals—in the Boston Ballet

“It’s a slow process for us because we are working full time, rehearsing all day, performing at night.”

Shelby ElsbreeNortheastern University

In some careers, retirement comes early. Shelby Elsbree, a 22-year-old dancer, tells us how a partnership between Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies and the Boston Ballet is preparing her for life after dance.

About this series: Say Something collects stories from college students about what they’re up to and why. Check for new e…


Painting to Pay Tuition

“One of my paintings … was sold for $500. And originally I was selling them for $30.”

Risha HillSpelman College

Stressed out over how she would come up with $11,800 to attend Spelman College for her sophomore year, Risha Hill turned to her newfound passion of painting. With stacks of canvases, she held an art show at her house, raising enough in sales and donations to catch up on her bills.

About this series: Say Something collects stories from college students about what they’re up to and w…


Student Regent Wants to Debate Policy, Not Her Muslim Faith

“Sometimes I get asked ridiculous questions, like whether I support Hamas or Hezbollah or Al Qaeda.”

Sadia SaifuddinUniversity of California at Berkeley

When the University of California’s Board of Regents nominated Sadia Saifuddin, a daughter of Pakistani immigrants and an observant Muslim, as its next student member, the decision sparked an angry response from some conservative and pro-Israel groups. Their concerns over Ms. Saifuddin’s advocacy for the divestment of university funds from com…