Neil Sood: Thinking Sustainably, Acting Selflessly through Global Peace Exchange

Name: Neil Sood

Age: 20

Major: Exercise Science 

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Relationship Status: Single

Courtesy: Neil Sood

Her Campus (HC): Tell me a little about yourself!

Neil Sood (NS): Well, as an exercise science major, I want to go to medical school. I want to do my best to leave a positive impression on this world and do so through the practice of medicine while tying in Global Peace Exchange FSU, the organization I am involved with. After I graduate I want to do rural, nonprofit medicine, working in countries that desperately need it.

HC: For those who may be unfamiliar with Global Peace Exchange FSU, can you please provide our readers with a brief overview of this organization?

NS: Global Peace Exchange is a student run nonprofit organization on FSU’s campus, the only one in fact, that works to promote sustainable development in developing countries. We do so through a two-month service project in various countries, and, for this summer , we have four countries - Nepal, Rwanda, Cambodia & Ghana. Our projects help to create succulence so communities are no longer dependent on volunteers once we leave. We leave them with things to continue to do on their own.

HC: Do you hold any positions as a member of Global Peace Exchange FSU?

NS: I’m the Senior Outreach Coordinator and I will also be a Nepal volunteer this summer.

HC: That really exciting! What are you most looking forward to about visiting Nepal?

NS: Like I mentioned, the different trips have different initiatives. One of these initiatives is called Clinic Nepal, which offers healthcare to villagers for free, basically, so in this clinic we will not only assist doing lots of healthcare related work, but we would also be giving treatment to people who may not have ever received medical treatment in their life. We can watch people receive their first eye exam.

HC: That truly sounds like an eye opening experience.

NS: Yeah exactly! I think one of the reasons Global Peace Exchange really sticks out is that- I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term, voluntourism-  we attempt to completely take any voluntourism levels out of our projects. We do so by going there for two months to try to teach so the village, community and country can continue to benefit from the changes we try to implement.

HC: I’ve actually never heard of that term before, but that’s a really great initiative to take.

NS: It refers to the fact that some countries in developing third world countries can start to become dependent on volunteers that come through, which is good that they’re offering these bouts of services, but in the long term, it allows these countries to not just grow economically within themselves, but to continue to become dependent upon themselves.

Courtesy: Neil Sood

HC: What are some of your duties as the Senior Outreach Coordinator?

NS: As outreach coordinator, I attempt to reach out, as it implies, to different organizations on campus and possible sponsors or donors, along with local businesses for donations and setting up share it nights, etc. Anything that our individual fundraisers might need to be in contact with an outside source, like a business, my co-chair and I handle that.

HC: What are some of the events Global Peace Exchange FSU organizes?

NS: There are two big things that we have coming up. One of them is a guest bartending night at Madison Social, and the date for that is Thursday, February 18. We also host an annual event called Jam For Peace.This is by far our largest fundraiser and certainly the most fun. It is a benefit concert in which we feature local Tallahassee artists and a night of music at the strip in Yianni’s and RedRocks. There are two stages with four bands that will perform, and this will take place on March 24th from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. In the past, we’ve also hosted the Global Café at the FSU Globe where we offered food from Cambodia, which was a huge success.

HC: It seems like you’ve been able to create a lot of great things in Global Peace Exchange and play an integral role in shaping its many events. What inspired you to join this organization?

NS: What inspired me to join, as I mentioned earlier, is my focus on global development in communities that aren’t as sustainable as our communities. I like the idea of charity work as it really allows you to gain a new perspective on world affairs. By world affairs, I mean the state of things in different portions of the world that otherwise you would have no idea about. I joined and was taken aback by the magnitude that a club on our very own campus can promote change. It’s a great group of people, and we currently have 100 members. We have also been around for 10 years on campus.

HC: That’s certainly a milestone to celebrate! Will Global Peace Exchange be holding any events in honor of its 10 years on FSU’s campus?

NS: That refers to our last big event so to say of the semester. It will be a Global Peace Exchange banquet where we host faculty members, members of college of social sciences and various organizations we have partnered with. We give them dinner. It’s a nice event, and we basically demonstrate to attendees what we will be doing this summer – what our projects will be. This will take place on April 3rd, 2016 at the FSU Globe.

HC: Is there anything else you’re involved with on campus?

NS: It’s been mostly GPE that I’m involved with club wise, but I’m also in ISA, the Indian Student Association. Other than that, I just study with my course load!

HC: Do you have any advice for fellow students who may be seeking a leadership role?

NS: Yeah, I was actually a student seeking a leadership position at one point. I remember feeling lost and didn’t know where my interests would lie. It’s important that as a student you become an active student which means you should be involved in more of the things FSU has to offer as a university. We have incredible organizations on campus:  there’s the Empowering Women Globally Club, Students For Justice in Palestine – that’s why the involvement fair is important. If you see a table, go check it out. You never know where you will fall, and GPE happened to be it for me.

HC: That’s great advice, Neil! Your passion for community service really shines through in each of your endeavors. What has been your fondest memory in GPE thus far?

NS: Last years Jam for Peace! I took on a large role without a leadership position at the time, allocating time slots for our participating bands. However, at one point, the power went out, so the bands were interrupted in the middle of the lineup. E-board got together under a staircase and brainstormed. Two of the bands that had acoustic instruments went up on the staircase and played for a crowd of people in the strip. Event planning and organization is difficult, but I am hoping I can implement changes I learned into this year with my hardworking team.

Courtesy: Neil Sood

HC: That sounds like quite the challenge, but one you would enjoy completing amongst such a devoted team. Aside from your membership in GPE, what are some of your other interests?

NS: As an exercise science major, I not only enjoy exercising but also studying the science of exercise. It sounds repetitive, but I aim to see how we can implement changes in the way exercise and food is viewed in this country. That’s one of my passions, and I wish to work in something that involves kinesiology.

HC: That’s really great! I’m sure you’ve learned a lot in your courses about this too. So, why did you choose to come to FSU?

NS: I don’t have a great story for this honestly. It was between UCF and FSU. I was bout to hit the yes button for UCF and then received my acceptance letter from FSU. I had never actually been here before prior to orientation.

HC: I hadn’t either! What did you enjoy most on your tour?

NS: I did like the tradition of the university. I remember when I got here I noticed  the aesthetics. It’s beautiful and classic. I love walking through campus, especially Landis Green, when I have the opportunity to do so.

HC: Last but not least, what three words would you use to describe yourself?

NS: Logical, compassionate and efficient. I’m pretty efficient.