The Richter Center Student Leaders

Service. Community. Integrity. Growth.



A Case for International Service


We serve because we want to trade in our time, money, and talents for the knowledge and satisfaction that someone’s life was bettered because of our gifts. We want to share what we have to make a difference to get some warm fuzzies. Many of us want to give back to our community and impact the area that has impacted us, creating a local service focus. Our country, our state, and our city are all far from perfect, and it is very understandable and very noble for individuals to want to direct their efforts to create improvements in these areas. It is a common sentiment that we need to fix our country before we can begin to think about giving globally. While I wholeheartedly support, encourage, and participate in local service, I also want to encourage people to zoom out a little bit and take a look at the bigger picture. Local service and global service do not have to be mutually exclusive, being involved in both offers wonderful experiences and multiplies the possibilities for meaningful change.

We are constantly reminded of all of the problems our local areas have ranging from poverty to poor health care to pollution. While these issues do exist and are important, it is also important to take note that compared to many areas of the world we are incredibly blessed. Being an American is such a beautiful privilege as we have the freedom to sustain our own beliefs and the opportunity to pursue them. Sure, we are far from a utopia, but we are certainly much closer than other parts of the world.  Whether you believe it was luck or a divine act that got you to this country, it is something that should not be taken for granted for it is important to remember that we all could have just as easily been born into a third world society. I say this not to impose guilt or a sense of obligation, but rather as a reminder that we all have been granted with an incredible opportunity. We have been given an ability to give that is larger than most. This is a gift that allows us to help both our local neighbors and our neighbors around the world if we so chose. So next time you are considering where to serve or give, don’t rule out the global community. Your impact will still be felt and you can still get warm fuzzies even from across the globe.

Here are some neat global service organizations to check out:

West African Vocational Schools:

Charity Water:

Amor Ministries:

International Student Volunteers:

Or consider purchasing some goods that benefit global communities (It’s a win win! You give support and get some cool stuff in return):

Toms (Shoes and Eyewear):

Krochet Kids (Crocheted goods):

Global Mamas (Tons of handmade items):

-Ambassador Emily

Another Day Without Shoes

Go barefoot on April 10th to spread awareness. Photo credit:

Tomorrow is April 10th and if you can’t stand the sight of people’s bare feet, you might want to stay inside for the day. You see, tomorrow is TOMS’ annual One Day Without Shoes event. For the 5th successive year, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe will ditch their shoes and go about life barefoot. If you happen to be around town, and especially if you happen to be on a college campus, you will likely see some of these individuals who are willing to forgo their Nikes, UGGs, Vans and Converse for 24 hours.

Now that you’ve been warned about the potential glimpses of bare feet you might see tomorrow, you may be wondering why on earth people would want to go without shoes in the middle of April? Well, here’s the reason: because millions of people don’t even get to choose whether they wear shoes or not! Millions of children all over the world don’t own any shoes at all, and thus have no choice but to walk barefoot over disease ridden, debris filled, and parasite infested ground every day. In fact, according to the One Day Without Shoes website, “4,000,000 people have Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring soil-based disease. 740,000,000 people are affected by hookworm which can cause intestinal pain, weakness and cognitive impairment.” And in just one case study done in the Philippines 30,000 people were discovered living on one landfill where their feet are constantly exposed to broken glass, debris and syringes.

How does a bunch of people who do have shoes leaving them in their closets for a day help people who don’t have any shoes? To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t. Not directly at least. What it does do, however, is generate conversation. Conversation about a problem in the world which can, in turn, inspire action. That is the goal of One Day Without Shoes, inspire people to act and make the world a better place. So, tomorrow, whether you choose to go without shoes or not, spend some time reflecting on some problem in the world, and think about what you can do to help solve it.

For more information about One Day Without Shoes check out

For more information about TOMS Shoes go to

–Ambassador Ryan

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