UIMF Contributes to 2019 UN Day Celebration at UVU

On October 24th, 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in the university’s celebration of United Nations (UN) Day. UN Day celebrates the formation of the United Nations, which occurred on October 24th, 1945 in San Francisco, USA.

Veronica Caballero, UVU Office of Global Engagement coordinates UN Day celebration at UVU

As a part of the UVUN initiative on campus, UIMF participates in UN-focused events like this at the invitation of the Office for Global Engagement. This year was the second time, when UIMF celebrated UN Day under the UVUN umbrella.  Members of the coalition of clubs hosted table alongside the National Security Studies Department, Peace and Justice Studies Department, the UVU Reflection Center, and the UVU Office for Global Engagement. UIMF was the only student club to be represented at UN Day.

(L to R): Veronica Caballero, UVU Office of Global Engagement, Samuel Elzinga, President, UIMF and Amy Barnett, UVU Office of Global Engagement  during the UN Day at UVU. 

At the tabling event, which occurred in the UVU Liberal Arts building  hallway, UIMF members highlighted their advocacy efforts at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum and the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women. They also shared experiences of contribution to the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference co-hosted by UVU in Salt Lake City during Augist 26-28, 2019.

Passers-by who were interested in the mission of UIMF were able to learn more about the coalition of clubs and its initiatives, all while learning more about student efforts to raise awareness in the State of Utah and globally about great disparities faced by mountain communities, who are among the poorest and most neglected in the world.

Overall, the UN Day Celebration with other members of the UVUN was a success. UIMF was able to advocate more for support to mountain women and communities to be in the focus of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by spreading awareness about the challenges faced by these communities, all while being able to recruit more members and interface with other members of the UVUN initiative to coordinate joint events together. In addition,  hosting tables is one of the ways for UIMF members to raise funds which they need for their advocacy campaigns.

Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum

World Polio Day Commemorated at Utah Valley University

On Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019, the Utah Valley University (UVU) Rotaract and the Orem Rotary Club co-hosted the World Polio Day Commemoration at UVU.  Rotaract is a student club at UVU, and part of the Rotary International (RI). Rotary  International is “a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” More than 35,000+ Rotary International clubs globally work together to: 1) Promote peace; 2) Fight disease; 3) Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; 4) Save mothers and children; 5) Support education; and 6) Grow local economies. Rotaract Clubs bring together people ages 18-30 to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service.

Rotaract is also a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU to promote the United Nations sustainable mountain development agenda in the state of Utah and North America. The event at UVU focused on the most famous initiative of the RI: the Polio Eradication as part of the goal to fight diseases worldwide.  It was hosted through the student engaged learning model, where we students work as a group to implement practical task and our teachers help us as mentors.

Kyle Warren moderates the event 

Kyle Warren, UVU Rotaract President, moderated the event by welcoming the audience and the speakers. He also reported to the audience about UVU Rotaract activities and goals. Then he invited to the podium Yana Andersen Rotaract member, who introduced Dr. Baldomero Lago, the Chief International Officer at UVU Office of Global Engagement. As the first speaker, Dr. Lago spoke about the essence of engaging students in sustainable development and how his office does everything to assist UVU student’s participation and contribution to the UN activities at local and international levels. I liked what Dr. Lago told us because I participated at one of the events which his office co-sponsored, the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (68UNCSC) in Salt Lake City in August 26-28, 2019.

    Dr. Baldomero Lago speaks during the event

Dr. Lago also reported to us about success of hosting the 68UNCSC in Salt Lake City. According to Dr. Logo, it is the first time that the United Nation Civil Society took place in another city beside its primary headquarters in New York and Geneva. He expressed appreciation to Rotary members and us for contributing to the success of the 68 UNCSC. Dr. Lago also invited the audience to participate at the 3rd Annual Utah Diplomatic Conference on International Trade Relations which will take place at UVU campus on November the 4th , 2019.

The keynote speaker of the event was Dr. John Hanrahan, the Rotary District Governor. Kyle Warren introduced Dr. Hanrahan by mentioning the most important facts from his bio and professional career as a medical doctor, and also humanitarian and contributor to RI projects.

Dr. John Hanrahan, the Rotary District Governor as a keynote speaker at the event

 Dr. Hanrahan spoke about and the necessity to end the polio in all around the world by vaccinating kids and the history of RI involvement with this important goal. Dr. Hanrahan has also shared with us many stories about RI effort to end polio since its beginning. However, Dr. Hanrahan has also explained how polio is rare in these days, but it is still a dangerous disease, and we need to work together to end this danger.

After Dr. Hanrahan, Kyle Warren invited to the podium Albeny Singh, another Rotaract member to introduce Dr. Steve Anderson, the UVU Director of community and government relations.  Dr. Anderson is UVU graduate and he reported to us about the activities of his office.

Dr. Steve Anderson, the UVU Director of community and government relations

At the beginning of his remarks, Dr. Anderson shared with us a story how his grandmother was treated and healed from polio. He reported to us about programs in his office which assist students with their education such as internships at local, national and international levels.

Abdulrahman Alghanmi introduces Dr. Robinson

The final speaker was Dr. Dean Robinson, the President-Elect of Orem Rotary. I was assigned personally to contribute to this event by introducing Dr. Dean Robinson.

Dr. Robinson speaks during the event   

Dr. Robinson shared with us the history of Rotary International from its establishment in Chicago by Paul P. Harris in 1905. He also explained how Rotary clubs work together to implement their main goal, which is to help the communities and to raise the awareness among them through action to create lasting change.

Group photo after the event at UVU

It was a great event for me and other UVU Rotaract members through a student engaged learning to gain new knowledge about Rotary International and its noble goal to eradicate polio worldwide. It was a great opportunity for us to meet and interact with many new respected individuals who make a difference in the lives of the people worldwide. The event was successful thanks to the support from the Orem Rotary members and the UVU office of Global Engagement.

Abdulrahman Alghanmi, UIMF member


Rotaractors hosted table as part of the World Polio Day   

UVU Rotaract members hosted table at UVU as preparations for the World Polio Day commemoration 

On October 21, 2019, members of the Utah Valley University Rotaract club hosted a table at university campus. The main goal for the tabling was to raise awareness among UVU students and faculty about Rotary International, its activities and in particular contribution to the polio eradication around the world.

The October 24th is the World Polio Day for  all members of the Rotary International to involve people around the world through various actions to fight this disease. Currently polio still exists in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Rotaract is the student club and part of the Rotary International. UVU Rotaract works closely with the Orem Rotary club.   Members of the Rotaract led by Kyle Warren, its President, used the tabling also to raise funds for Rotaract activities.  UVU Rotaract is a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at UVU, which focuses on the promotion of the United Nations sustainable mountain development agenda in the State of Utah and at the UN. Hannah Bieker, represented UVU Rotaract during the visit of UIMF delegation to the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2019.  

Abdulrahman Alghanmi, UIMF member


Video of the Event


World Polio Day Brochure


Task List for World Polio Day




Kyle Warren- Preparations for World Polio Day at UVU 


Samuel Elzinga-The Role of Rotary in the Eradication of Polio and its Place in the SDGs


Kyle Warren-World Polio Day Commemoration at UVU


Byan Alghanmi-World Polio Day at Utah Valley University


Kanyon Lee Learning about Rotary International and Polio Eradication


Albeny Singh – My contribution to the World Polio Day Event at UVU


Cory Levin-World Polio Day Commemoration at UVU


Jose Coreas-UVU Rotaract hosted World Polio Day-


Yana Andersen – Contributing to World Polio Day at UVU


Caleb Stowell-Commemorating World Polio Day at UVU Through Student Engaged Learning


Austin-Meline-On the World Polio Day Event at Utah Valley University


Sariah Gomez-Achieving a Polio-Free World Through Rotarians


Drew Tschirki – World Polio Day Event At Utah Valley University


Titus Elanyu – World Polio Day at Utah Valley University

On the Mauna Kea Mountain and Hawaiian Culture

Attendees and Mr. Lanakila Mangauil make a sing of solidarity for Mauna Kea

            On October 10, 2019, Utah Valley University (UVU) and its Multicultural Center’s Pacific Islander Initiative hosted Mr. Lanakila Mangauil, a speaker that instructed us on the situation of Mauna Kea mountain, Hawaiian culture and traditional hula dances.

As the name of the event, Mana’o Maunakea, implies the main focus was on learning more about the situation in Hawaii on the mountain Mauna Kea. This situation has a long history and is not just a recent event. The speaker informed us about the methods by which the United States took over the island nation and how this colonial attitude still pervades in the government today. In past years Hawaiian culture was outlawed and suppressed. This had allowed a colonial approach to the management of Hawaii to grow and become far more prevalent over the years.

Beginning in the 1970’s a movement of those in the younger generation began to push for a return to native Hawaiian culture. Since this movement began, the teaching of Hawaiian culture has increased on the islands and become allowed as opposed to historical restrictions.

The movement became key when construction projects began on the mountain of Mauna Kea. Due to its location, the mountain is a prime spot for astronomical research. Those involved in astronomy sought to construct telescopes on the mountain to aid in their research. The issue here is that the mountain is both a sacred and an ecologically important site for those in the region. This has not stopped many construction projects, in fact there are, as per the speaker, 13 telescopes already were built with a current project as another addition.

The Hawaiian people are already outraged at the existence of the telescopes and have filed legal complaints against further construction. Many of them refer to laws regarding the environment such as preventing permanent damage to vulnerable ecosystems. The telescope projects have violated many of these laws. The Hawaiian government however seem reluctant to move against outside construction and continues to allow any additional request.

Not only are the projects seen as a legal violation, but also as a violation of religious and cultural beliefs. Mauna Kea is a sacred place as it is seen as a connection from the world below to the world of higher gods above. Its name translated as the white mountain, but the word white has the connotation of being so pure that it is bright white. From this purity comes the waters from which the people on the mountain rely. They drink the water and the water feeds the plats from which they eat. The Hawaiian people are a people that live by sustainable living principles. The speaker spoke of fishing by “fours”, three days of feeding the fish and a fourth day catching them. They also clean and help the plant life prior to taking that which they need. If there is not enough for the wildlife to sustain growth, then they do not take. With the telescopes permanently damaging parts of the ecosystem, in a holy place as well, it is no wonder that the local people have been spurred into action.

Performing a native hula dance

            Those attending the event were not only taught about the Mauna Kea mountain, but also relatable elements of culture such as language and dance. The words of the Hawaiian language have deep significance as do the hula dances. These are not simple elements of the tourist economy but mean great and important things to the native peoples. These dances and their words were taught to us in attendance. As a person in the audience, I was able to participate in this native dance ritual with specific connections with Mauna Kea and thus developed a stronger connection and respect for the culture of the Hawaiian people. Afterwards, I was able to speak with the host and thank him for his time. This was a fantastic opportunity for multicultural learning combined with an engaged learning approach, and I thank the UVU faculty and university as a whole for making this possible.

 (R to L) Austin Meline with Mr. Lanakila Mangauil 

                Austin Meline, member of the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University 




Sariah Gomez – About Lanakila Mangauil and Protection of Mauna Kea Mountain


Titus Elanyu – Mountain Mauna Kea

Preparations for World Polio Day at Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University Rotaract will host a World Polio Day at noon of Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The agenda will include a  luncheon on behalf of the Orem Rotary  in room SC 213C from 12:00pm to 12:50pm.

After that the main event will be hosted by members of the UVU Rotaract in  SC 213B from 1:00pm to 1:50pm. They invited for the event UVU faculty and students as well as members of the Orem Rotary.

Dr. John Hanrahan, Rotary District Governor will be the keynote speaker for our event.

Other contributors to the event will be: Dr. Lago, CIO/Vice-Rector at UVU on Global Engagement;  Dr. Steve Anderson, the UVU Director of community and government relations; and Dr. Dean Robinson, the President-Elect of the Orem Rotary.

The event will be hosted by UVU Rotaract as a student engaged learning model, when  members of the club will gain professional skills  by addressing real-world problems as a group with a faculty serving them as a mentor..

Kyle Warren, UVU Rotaract President


UVU Announcement


World Polio Day Commemoration Brochure