It can be difficult to translate a feeling of inspiration into action, but thats what NMSU alumna Linda Stout 81 did after reading The Green Belt Movement, by Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
Maathai is a champion for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation and started the Green Belt Movement, which assisted African women in planting more than 20 million trees.
As a woman, I identified with her struggles and was very inspired by her tenacity and leadership, Stout says.
Stout took that inspiration and helped develop and finance the Service Learning for Women program, or SLW. The program has a goal of empowering women from developing nations to become catalysts for positive change in their home countries through cross-cultural exchange at NMSU.
In 2011 SLW was launched and four women from four different east African countries came to NMSU for the month-long program that introduced the visitors to academic and agricultural leaders from around the state.
While at NMSU, the women also worked on individual projects to execute back home. One of the participants decided to travel to a remote Ethiopian school to show children how to plant mango tree seedlings.
One of the exciting things about the times we live in is that individuals like me can make a difference in the world, Stout says.