Neha Gupta Giving International Influence A Penn State Flair
Penn State freshman Neha Gupta has had quite a year, but she finds her altruism far from over.
The recent winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize, Gupta is continuing her work with Empower Orphans here on campus in addition to other initiatives. Gupta began Empower Orphans after she noticed children suffering extreme poverty while visiting her grandparents in India as a child. The main goal quickly became to create self-sufficiency to those children by supplying them with the proper tools to receive an education, medical supplies, food, and clothing. She began the organization at age nine, and it has since raised $1.7 million over the past 10 years to help more than 25,000 children in need. The nonprofit group has established five libraries, four school computer labs, and a sewing center.
Now working as a college student with access to Penn State’s resources, Gupta wants to create a student organization here on campus. The organization would focus on fundraising and service projects. She feels it would be a great way to combine the social elements of college with beneficial philanthropy.
Her goal is to then continue the organization with student-run chapters around the country and world. Spreading the student-run chapters as far and wide as possible will be the key to raising the most funds and awareness, she said. Creating multiple student-run chapters could be crucial in spreading the awareness of the issues at hand.
“It has been difficult to balance but as cliché as it sounds, one has to make time for beliefs and passions,” Gupta said when asked how she can handle both charity and school work. “All in all though, the time effort is worth it to see all the support from my university.”
To help take Empower Orphans to the next level, Gupta recently has been working on the Collective Project, an initiative with Microsoft. The Collective Project received a lot of support from the student body last week, which she says made her feel honored and encouraged. The Collective Project aims to celebrate college students who are doing positive work to help improve our world.
Along with winning the International Children’s Peace Prize came a lot of media attention that Gupta says she was not expecting. She hopes the attention will get others excited as well, inspiring them to get involved.
Gupta achieved a special form of Penn State recognition this year, earning a mention in the line dance. The lyrics sang, “Peace prize, won by scholar. Neha Gupta, HOLLA.” Gupta says it was incredible having everyone say her name 46 times. “I still get ‘hollas’ whenever I say my name,” Gupta added.
For the future, Gupta’s goal is to run Empower Orphans from a pediatric doctor’s perspective. She is currently a premed student with the goal to major in either neuroscience or chemistry.
“I look forward to taking Empower Orphans to the next level with the support and resources of Penn State,” said Gupta.
Gupta hopes that more students around campus join her in her mission. Attached is a doodle poll that Gupta encourages everyone to fill out if they’re interested in getting involved with Empower Orphans and helping to make a difference.