The Herald-Times

Ivy Tech’s O’Bannon Institute for Community Service wrapped up its third and final day of this year’s event with a conversation Friday with Shiza Shahid, who with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, co-founded the Malala Fund, with the mission to champion education and the right to education for girls around the world, especially in developing countries around the world.

The night before, Sir Bob Geldof, Irish philanthropist, musician, world traveler and passionate champion of the world’s most downtrodden, delivered the Institute’s keynote address to a packed house at a hundred-dollar-a-plate fundraising dinner at the Bloomington convention center, with proceeds destined to benefit students at Ivy Tech Bloomington.

Earlier Thursday. voluntters from among Ivy Tech’s students, faculty and staff, spread out across the community to put into practice the ideals the instititute is designed to instill or reinforce.

One group helped preschoolers plant seeds for their spring gardens. Another walked the road that leads to Ivy Tech’s campus, picking up trash, tidying the landscape.

Others volunteered at the animal shelter or in the parks.

These chores are a small start to the kind of commitment that Geldof so elequently articulated as he described the desolaton and hopelessness of the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the north African deserts in the 1980s. It was that desolation that prompted him to launch the first international charity concert Band Aid that led to a series of such concerts that helped wake up the world to the plight of the least fortunated.

His message — one that warns of the dangers facing the world today and of the urgent need for grass roots commitment to build a better path away from calamity — also is a founding ideal of the institute.

Shiza Shahid is the embodiment of that ideal. A Stanford graduate who was a business analyst at McKinsey & Company in the Middle East, now leads the Malala Fund in its work to empower girls through education. Recently named TIME magazine’s “30 Under 30 World Changers,” Shahid is a perfect role model for those many students who want to give more than they take from today’s world.

The institute does its job extremely well, allowing young people the opportunity to consider — to really consider — how they choose to proceed in the wider world.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.