Saying Samantha Cameron is busy may be an understatement. This third-year political science major at Carleton is president of both Free the Children and War Child on campus, vice president of Sprosh fall orientation week, has two part-time jobs and is a full-time student. She is also organizing a philanthropy conference for Carleton in 2013 and is headed to Belarus this upcoming April to volunteer in an orphanage. It is Cameron’s passion for leadership roles and giving back that keep her motivated and focused through all the pressures and demands of university life.
“Honestly, I have so many lists,” Cameron said with a chuckle. “Every morning I’ll write a list of things I need to do and then check them off. I’m so busy, but I really want to do it. It’s not like I have to do it, so it’s fun. I make it work,” she said.
Cameron initially got interested in humanitarian work in high school, when she got the opportunity to attend Free the Children’s annual We Day, a conference that aims to empower and educate youth about social change.
“I got to go to We Day to represent my school, and then that’s when I said to myself ‘I am in love with Free the Children, I have to do all the initiatives that they have.’ Then I went to university and became involved and eventually became president [of Free the Children Carleton],” she explained.
Cameron was also encouraged to join War Child Carleton, an organization that helps children affected by war, by one of her friends. She started out as an executive member, and became president this year. Despite her authoritative role in these two clubs, Cameron encourages the members to show initiative and lead their own projects.
“My favorite part is interacting with people and figuring out what they’re passionate about, and designing events around what people want to see. I like letting my members spearhead their own projects and then kind of lead them, and give them assistance whenever they need it,” she said.
While the clubs take up a considerable amount of Cameron’s time, she is also devoted to organizing a philanthropy conference, scheduled for next year at Carleton. After attending a similar conference at Queen’s University, Cameron wanted to bring the concept back to Ottawa and focus on local humanitarian efforts.
“[The Queen’s conference] was geared to people who are really getting ahead and are successful, and want to give back. A lot of it was just like giving money, and how to invest in charities. I wanted a similar feel, but I wanted people to get involved and to realize that there’s more ways to do philanthropy than just donating money. There’s so many initiatives locally and it’s going to be very locally-focused,” she said.
“I saw the conference, and it was amazing, but then saw the side that I wanted to see more of, and wanted a forum for people at Carleton to get involved without having to give money.”
Cameron’s passion for humanitarianism has also taken her around the globe. In high school, she volunteered in Nicaragua, and this past February, she travelled to Costa Rica to help renovate an elementary school. Next, Cameron will travel to Belarus in April to volunteer at an orphanage with an organization named Canadian Aid for Chernobyl.
Cameron said she is grateful for getting involved, because she now has a better idea of what she wants to do in the future.
“I love leading people, I love being a leader. I also learned how open I am to things,” she said. “I would want to work for a grassroots organization, or get youth involved. Maybe work for the UN in the field, doing disaster relief. Definitely in the field, doing the work. I don’t want to be behind a desk making the calls.”
Based on her impressive participation in hands-on philanthropic work, it’s safe to say Samantha Cameron won’t be sitting behind a desk anytime soon.