Club Spotlight: Young Social Activists


The Young Social Activists’ Club, seen here with adviser, Leslie Miller (Staff Photographer/Talon).

An ambitious group of freshmen want to find solutions the problems that afflict the world; this group created the Young Social Activist’s Club (YSAC). Every two months, the club chooses a current topic with the goal of promoting awareness of it.

Past themes have included immigration within the U.S., world hunger and Ebola. The current theme is pollution in third-world countries.

English teacher Leslie Miller serves as the advisor for the club.

“[The girls] are looking for practical, real world experience and the mock experience of being a country and having an awareness of the issues that are going on in the world right now, presenting on those issues, and representing OPHS as the incredible students and global citizens they are already turning into,” Miller said.

After a theme is selected, the club creates a plan of action.

During the height of the Ebola crisis, with the help of dance instructor Kristin Atkins, club did a flash mob at Lamppost Pizza to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. The dancing received the attention as well as the money of curious onlookers.

Club member Michelle Chen expressed eagerness about the potential of YSAC.

“I’ve always possessed a great interest in what the club focuses on: current events and global issues, and the process of publicizing, discussing, and ultimately bettering their circumstances,” Chen said. “My decision to join YSAC was an easy one to make.”

Six members of YSAC are currently preparing to participate in Model United Nations at the University of Southern California on April 25.

“Model UN is a competition where high school and college students simulate the working of the United Nations,” Riti Hegde, club president, said. “They give us current [and] real world issues to resolve.”

The candidates for the Model UN were chosen through an interview process. The girls were asked questions about themselves to determine how well they could respond without preparation, club Secretary Vaishnavi Tipireddy said,

Samhitha Yadalla was optimistic about the club’s appearance at the Model UN.

“I believe if we prepare our best, this club will succeed. However, this is a new club and this year will be our first time at the MUN,” Yadalla said.

Despite this, Medha Vallurupalli, club vice president, has goals for YSAC and the Model UN.

“I’m hoping to gain a new perspective on how to debate and also have a fun time!” Vallurupalli said.

Hegde also has ambitions for YSAC in the future.

“I have a lot of hopes for this club,” Hegde said. “I hope that YSAC becomes a place where kids at OPHS can brainstorm ideas, have a platform to speak, spread ideas and spread tolerance.”