May 10, 2017

Student selected for UN Association fellowship

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Mary McGee, an English literature and psychology major at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has been selected for a prestigious United Nations Association fellowship.

McGee is completing her junior year and serves as president of SIU’s United Nations Association student organization. She is the new GenUN fellow for the Midwest region and during her year-long fellowship, the Naperville native will fulfill several obligations. As a field organizer for the association’s campus chapter network, she will be working to establish new United Nations Association (UNA) chapters on college campuses across the Midwest and helping existing chapters increase membership, operate programs and handle various issues.

“As I help UNA chapters grow and develop, I also hope to create more resources to assist them in establishing programs and with fundraising opportunities and I want to form a strong leadership team,” McGee said.

The daughter of Christine and Frank McGee, Mary will attend a Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., in June to enhance her leadership skills and learn more about her work directing UNA’s Midwestern chapters. She is one of just four GenUN fellows and will serve in the position until May 2018.

McGee said SIU’s chapter has a strong and active membership and has sponsored several successful programs during the past year. Projects have included raising money for refugees around the world through the Adopt-A-Future campaign and writing “thank you” letters to show appreciation to U.N. peacekeepers for their service.

In conjunction with the national organization’s focus on increased awareness of humanitarian work and human rights violations, the SIU chapter is advocating for equal opportunity, access to clean water and food, and helping refugees. The student group also assists area nonprofit organizations, including For Kid’s Sake, which strives to assure children and orphans have access to housing, food, an education and other necessities, she said. The SIU UNA has helped the nonprofit with fundraising to meet their annual goal and assisted with its 5K event each September.

“All in all, my goal is to create unity and understanding within SIU, Carbondale and the rest of the world,” McGee said. “We hope to host more collaborative events with other registered student organizations in the fall to join forces and recognize that we all want to create more campus involvement and also help local and global communities.”