Today’s Friday Feature is Dr. June Henton, Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University. On Monday, December 3, 2017 the College of Human Sciences will present the 24th annual International Quality of Life Awards at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City. Dean Henton gives us some history on how ECHA came out of a long-standing relationship with the United Nations.
This is Her story:
“The International Quality of Life Awards (IQLA) began in 1994 and grew out of a need to globalize our programs in the College of Human Sciences. It was at that point in time in the late ‘80s, early 90’s when offshore sourcing became a big issue for the textile and apparel industries in our state. Because we were preparing graduates for those careers, we acknowledged the need to restructure our curricula to help students begin thinking more broadly and get a better sense of their place in the world. To help us meet this challenge, we made the decision to establish an International Board of Advisors which included leaders from a variety of backgrounds who had lived and worked overseas.
It was through the assistance of this board that IQLA was launched in New York City at the United Nations. Its purpose was to recognize outstanding individuals who were making significant contributions to human well-being at home and abroad. By meeting these world leaders who were making a difference in the lives of others through their professional and humanitarian achievements, our students were able to better see how they, too, could contribute to enhancing quality of life locally and globally.
The Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn came about because of the relationship that we in the College of Human Sciences established with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) which emanated from a connection through IQLA. In 2004, WFP planned to initiate a student “War on Hunger” and invited Auburn to be its first academic partner. We worked hard on campus to develop an anti-hunger model that included both a grassroots component, as well as academic initiatives through teaching, research, and outreach. Other institutions of higher education heard about our efforts and wanted to sign on, so the resulting coalition became known as Universities Fighting World Hunger.
To provide an infrastructure for Auburn’s “War on Hunger”, the Hunger Solutions Institute was approved in 2012. Because of our land-grant mission, we made the decision to make End Child Hunger in Alabama our first outreach initiative. The HSI’s mission to convene, collaborate, and multiply best practices enabled our leadership team to put together a multi-sector statewide task force to focus on solutions to eradicate hunger and malnutrition among the children of Alabama.
All of our efforts related to hunger are critical, but equally important in my mind is ensuring that our students at Auburn understand the global issues we are facing. We talk a lot about opening minds and broadening worldviews in our college. I firmly believe that if we produce graduates who have greater knowledge of the world, who understand the struggles that people both here and in other countries are experiencing, then they will have a better chance of being part of the solutions to these challenges.”