Join the Global Fight to Eradicate Poverty

By Caitlyn Maltese
Student Life Editor

Nourish Infographic
According to Nourish International’s website, “NI students partner with communities who lack the necessary funds and resources for development projects, but who have the entrepreneurial vision to eradicate poverty.” The infographic above lists the organization’s various achievements.

Transfer student Haley Zullo from Virginia Commonwealth University is bringing Nourish International (NI) to Washington College. Zullo was active in the chapter at her former school and is excited about the opportunity to continue her work to eradicate poverty. She is majoring in environmental science and Spanish with a minor in public health.
According to the national website, Nourish International is a “student movement that partners with communities to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty.” Individual chapters get assigned to an International Partners Director who helps arrange all the travel.
Since 2003, they report to have invested $460,000 and have placed over 600 Project interns in 113 projects throughout the world.
“Nourish International equips students with the skills and experiences needed to become agents of social change. The experience of running businesses on their campus, selecting a project, partnering with a community to implement it, and assessing the outcome allows students to make a difference while still in school and grow into seasoned leaders in the process,” according to NI’s website.
Zullo originally helped found the VCU chapter of NI with a couple of her friends. After operating for a year, Zullo had the opportunity to go to complete a project with four other club members in Nicaragua.
With a heavy social media presence, the VCU chapter was able to raise enough money to fund their trip.
“We were teaching kids and the community members English. Also, I was doing a thing called Lacrosse the Nation so I was teaching lacrosse there and gym class. We also built some chicken coops and some projects like that,” she said. Zullo is a member of the WC women’s lacrosse team.
Zullo still keeps in contact with the community members from Nicaragua and hopes to go back this summer to visit them.
Last summer, Zullo attended the Nourish International Summer Institute in North Carolina.
“This sounds super cliché, but it was like the best four days of my life. It was really awesome,” she said.
One of the inventors from Google Blast as well as the Executive CEO of Peace Corp spoke to the students at the Institute. “We also got to learn a lot about Nourish International and how to start a chapter and run a club. It was a lot of help, especially starting here because I was coming here on my own,” she said.
So far, there has been a lot of interest from the students at WC. The club has 20 official members. In one of their first meetings, they voted to decide which countries they were interested in pursuing projects in. Their first project will be in this upcoming summer and, according to Zullo, it will probably be around two weeks.nourish_logo_cmyk-png-headweb
“What we do is choose our top three projects and then Nourish matches us with a partner,” Zullo said. Their first choice project is in the Amazon of Peru where they would help improve water sanitation. Their second choice project is also in Peru, but it would take place in the city where they would help teach kids. Their third choice project is in Guatemala where they would be teaching children to attempt promote ancient culture as well as improve literacy.
In all the different scenarios the members of the club would be teaching kids in Spanish and English. Although many of the club members are bilingual, knowledge of Spanish is not required. They are currently talking to the Global Education Office and the Dean of students and to determine a way for students to get experimental credit (which is required for international studies and language majors).
In order to be eligible to travel with the club, you have return for at least a semester before graduating. This prevents current seniors planning to graduate in 2017 from being able to travel for the projects. They are still encouraged to get involved.
The club has already planned some business ventures and tabling events which will include a culture dinner where they present food from the country they will be visiting.
“Since we are a first year chapter, we don’t have one big business/entrepreneurship. There is a ventures database that has all the other past ventures from different chapters so, for the first year, we are trying to feed off of that and come up with ideas. Hopefully next year we will be able to come up with one big idea,” Zullo said.
“Something that NI as a whole is really about is trying to eradicate poverty in a sustainable manner. So, for our chapter, sustainability is one of the huge catchphrases that has been thrown around, but it is really true. We are really trying to work with local businesses rather than big corporations,” she said.
“Reaching that sustainability when we are raising money and when we are involved in the project is a big deal. So, not just going there and being like ‘Oh, we are going to fix everything’ and then everything just collapsing—we want what we are going to do to stick with the community and be continued to be used years down the line,” Zullo said.
The club is currently in talks with Evergrain in hopes to get them to donate baked goods or gift cards to their fundraising efforts. They are also planning to collaborate with other WC clubs. Right now, they are talking to the knitting club and hope to create a Buy One, Give One program with handmade items. Additionally, they are talking to the German club and hope that they can donate old Octoberfest glasses to be hand painted and resold in the first week of October.
The proceeds from their ventures will be invested into their project with their partner organization. “It’s all about being sustainable. We want the money that we fundraise to go to the project and not ourselves,” she said.
Although the club is officially a chapter of NI, they are not currently listed on the national website. However, Zullo believes that the WC chapter will be the first in Maryland.
Check NI out on Facebook or contact them at They meet every Monday 7-8 p.m. in the Goose Nest.


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