Student partners with Chicago non-profit, starts campus arm


Senior Katie Murray studied abroad in Uganda


Sparked by a summer of studying peace and conflict resolution in Rwanda and Uganda, senior Kate Murray started a Pangea Educational Development, PED, chapter at St. Edward’s University. Through Student Life, Murray hopes this organization will bring awareness and interest to the conflicts in both countries.

Murray’s personal association with Uganda began before her involvement in the organization. She first studied abroad in Uganda in the summer of 2011.

After her first summer of study in Uganda and Rwanda, Murray discovered her love for the region. She found a culture different than the one projected by the American media and embraced it. The program changed her outlook on this area of the world and foreign aid to Africa.  

“It’s so much more complex than people think,” Murray said. “People don’t realize how much harm they can actually do even when you want things to work so much.”

Despite what she learned while studying abroad, her summer experience in the two African nations along the equator was not enough. Murray wanted more,  and vowed to return. More than anything, Murray wanted to serve in Uganda in a way that the people would truly benefit. She stumbled upon PED on a tucked away website and applied for an internship.

The organization strives to inspire students and bring communities together through education and works closely with the people to find out what their communities truly need. PED has four projects in Uganda that the organization is working to make self-sufficient.  Murray jumped at the opportunity to serve and potentially return to Uganda.

“This is a miracle,” Murray said when she realized her dreams were becoming a reality during a Skype interview with PED.

Murray went back to Uganda with PED in July of 2012. Even though Murray is back in the States, she is still on fire for PED.  Though the organization is based in Chicago, she started a college chapter of PED through Student Life. The St. Edward’s chapter is one of five university chapters across the country. 

The organization plans to work with already established education entities in Austin, such as Breakthrough Austin, and set up events for international and domestic students on campus to produce a more cohesive atmosphere for everyone.  Murray also wants to work with people in Austin who are here because of political asylum.

“I want to communicate that college students care.” Murray said.

“[PED] is going to bring about a lot of awareness which will hopefully spark action concerning education and its role in social development,” PED member Becca May said.

The St. Edward’s chapter of PED is still looking for members. Murray stressed that PED is not like a normal service group. She said it is a family. Regular monthly meetings to organize service are replaced with potluck dinners and everyone is invited to join and share their voice. 

For more information about the St. Edwards chapter, contact Kate Murray at [email protected]