National Council Spotlight: Jeremy Zullow
National Council member Jeremy Zullow shares his experience getting involved with UNA-USA leadership!
Q) When did you first get involved with UNA-USA?
JZ: I joined UNA-USA as a sophomore in high school. After a conference and class trip at the UN, I was inspired to found a chapter at my high school. I got involved with the Princeton-Trenton chapter towards the end of high school and have been a devoted UNA’er ever since!
Q) What interests you the most about the organization?
JZ: The motto “Think globally, act locally.” I’m always excited to learn about what chapters are doing to localize UN issues and values through projects in their communities, including to combat human trafficking, promote gender equality, and assist refugees. UNA-USA’s commitment to local action makes this organization a holistic model of education, advocacy, and action. For all generations, the motto serves as a call to action and a sustained reminder of why the UN is relevant to everyone.
Q) What made you decide to run for the National Council? What role do you think youth play in UNA-USA and the National Council?
JZ: The National Council wasn’t on my radar in 2016, since I only had experience working with my local chapter. So it was pure luck that at the 2016 Members’ Day (now called the GES) another New Jersey UNA leader suggested I run, on account of my local leadership and youth status. The invitation to run was a catalyst for me, as I took the leap into national-level UNA-USA volunteer work. As soon as I joined the National Council at our first meeting, I was acutely aware of my position as a youth, on a board that had volunteers with organizational and career experience reaching back well before I was born. In working with volunteers who had spent decades in UNA-USA, I learned about effective advocacy, the UNA’s history, and local leadership, and I drew on their advice and support to take on new roles and projects. In turn, I provided a fresh perspective on UNA policies, and I represented youth interests in the committee I chaired and in National Council discussions. This dual role of learning and sharing is at the heart of the youth experience on the National Council. Youth have the opportunity to acquire leadership experience by working with colleagues on the National Council, and youth representatives have a platform to provide recommendations to the National Council that will help UNA-USA better attract and serve young members.
Q) What are the major projects/programs you have been involved in during your time with the National Council?
JZ: My primary focus has been youth and young professional engagement. I’ve advocated for improved policies across a variety of issues that concern young people, including on matters intended to help attract students to UNA-USA and steps to connect community and campus chapters. I’m particularly passionate about increasing opportunities for youth leadership at the local and national level, which is why I initiated the important project of connecting community chapters through young officers in each chapter. This chapter network encourages chapters to identify and support young leadership, and it facilitates conversations between chapters on best practices and strategies for engaging young people.
Q) What is your favorite part about being a Regional Representative?
JZ: It’s hard to choose a favorite part of the experience I had serving as a Regional Representative, so instead I’ll share one thing I’m grateful for. I am grateful that the position has given me the opportunity to connect with volunteers from across the country, and I’ve made valuable friendships and professional relationships through my work on the National Council. These relationships provide inspiration for my local work and make for unforgettable experiences at each Leadership Summit and Global Engagement Summit. I’m always looking forward to the annual summits, where I can reunite and reconnect with UNA’ers from around the country.