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Project Nicaragua has been built by students wanting to make a difference.

The foundation of our organization has been fueled by our many chapters across the United States. Beginning in California, Project Nicaragua (PN) has expanded its alumni network to include chapters at Vanderbilt and The Ohio State University, but we are looking to include more. That’s where you come in! In this blog post we would like to answer a few questions about why creating a PN chapter at your university might be just what you are looking for.

Why would PN choose to be a chapter-run organization?

Excellent question. Just as our website says, we believe in community. One of the communities we truly believe in is the young community. We say young not as an age, but as a mindset and as a feeling. To be young is often thought of to be idealistic, and with idealism brings a need to change the world for the better. That is a culture we believe is represented greatly in universities. Both undergraduate and graduate communities alike are brimming with untapped, unending potential and power. Students come from a diverse set of backgrounds and skills, and they bring all of this to the table at chapter meetings and trips. We are proud to work with students, all of whom seem to bring a never-ending stream of ideas.

What does the day-to-day look like for a chapter?

This will depend on the area in Nicaragua where you volunteer, as well as the area of expertise you wish to help in. Some chapters have chosen more medical routes, as that is what their Nicaraguan partners stated they needed. This could mean anything from helping to fund the building and staffing of a hospital, to collecting prescription glasses to give to the community that needs them. Others have gone in a more educational direction, which has included creating curriculum to teach on trips, and recording videos to give to their students when they are not in Nicaragua. The majority of your time volunteering will be spent at your university, but this is due to the fact that you will have classes, and so will your members. However, the time spent creating projects and fundraising at university events will be some of your most important days, and they will be crucial to your success in implementing projects on your trips to Nicaragua.

What makes me qualified for starting a chapter?

There are no individual qualifications, per se, to starting a chapter at your university, but it does take certain qualities. If you feel you are a strong leader, an active member of your community, and someone who enjoys a challenge, then a Project Nicaragua chapter may be the next adventure you are looking for. Chapters at universities each have their own areas in Nicaragua where they work, and each have their own interests, partnerships, and ideas. All of this is to say that there is no one way to begin or run a chapter, and that is the beauty of university-led groups. As long as you can look at our mission statement and feel it is something that you can believe in too, then we would highly recommend reaching out to start a chapter.

Okay, you have convinced me. So now how do I start a chapter?

Amazing! We knew we could do it. Let’s outline the steps below:

Step 1) On the website there is a chapter application. This has been created by Project Nicaragua’s national board, and is the first step in becoming a chapter. Once the board has had time to consider the application, they will decide whether or not to accept it. 

Step 2) In the meantime, it is best that you speak with your university about their own club and organization policies. Most universities will require a staff member as the chaperone or club/org representative, and we highly recommend having them on board. They are often irreplaceable as far as partnership communication and experience are concerned.

Step 3) Try to find a community in Nicaragua that your chapter will serve. If you do not have one by the time your application is accepted, that is fine! This is where the national board can try to help. There is a liaison of partnerships who will be willing to help you in connecting with Nicaraguan community leaders who would be interested in working together.

Step 4) Lastly, build your chapter. After having an accepted application, it would be time to get some volunteers. Fall and Spring Involvement Fairs are often great opportunities for recruitment, and they are always full of new freshmen who are excited for a chance to be a part of something bigger than their own lives.  That is what you will be able to offer them by beginning this chapter.

Ultimately, by coming to this blog, you have taken the very first step. We are excited to have you here, and we hope you will consider creating your own Project Nicaragua chapter.