Members of the Movement: Sophia Huq

At buildOn, we celebrate the creative and adventurous steps that members of the buildOn movement take to support education and service at home and abroad. Our ‘Members of the Movement’ series highlights the vital work these supporters are doing to help empower youth and end the education crisis.

How One Chapter Members Leads by Example

Since I first joined the buildOn movement, I’ve learned that high school and college students are some of the most motivated people. We have the energy and ability to actually create positive change. We really can be the change that we want to see in the future and can help future generations also see the importance of education.

I first saw this when I traveled to Sausalito, California for the first buildOn Global Leader’s Conference. Not only was I able to understand how to lead and obtain passionate and driven followers to a cause, but I also shared my passion for buildOn with students from around the world. The extra perk: I met activist, author and CEO Jim Ziolkowski and now better understand the significance that each individual has in making sure others have access to education.

Two years later, I reconnected with Jim, a Michigan State alum, to see if he would be interested in having buildOn represented at the Michigan State Model United Nations (MSUMUN) conference. Each year the conference picks an organization to raise money for. As an active member of MSUMUN and buildOn supporter, I felt that only one movement deserved the donations from our competition. Rosann Jager, buildOn’s Vice President of International Programs, also gave a speech at the conference. When she taught the delegates the importance of global education, she motivated them to raise $3,954.92!

buildOn has always been so important to me because it helped me become a leader. I’ve motivated students involved in buildOn in my high school, was president of my school’s chapter and led 12 other students on a school building trip to Nicaragua. Most recently, at MSUMUN, I organized a committee based around buildOn’s mission and facilitated a discussion about the barriers that keep kids out of school in developing countries.


Chapter alumna Sophia Huq poses with members of her host family while on Trek to Nicaragua with buildOn.

A leader must shape followers to embark on a journey of positive change. I truly believe an important part of being a leader is allowing others to have the confidence, motivation and passion to become leaders of the future. I noticed this when I listened to the conference delegates debate cultural issues in education.

By watching them discuss these topics, I saw their passion to change the global education system. buildOn helped me see this potential in myself and I had become a positive leader in their lives by allowing them to see their potential as well.

Sophia Huq is a sophomore at Michigan State University and alumna of the buildOn chapter at International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She’s taken what she’s learned from buildOn to her college campus and beyond in hopes of encouraging others to help end the global education crisis.