ONE More Chapter

Portrait of Madeleine Buchholz
Photo by Jacob Van Blarcom, CLAgency student

As a transfer student, junior Madeleine Buchholz was looking for two things in her first year at the University of Minnesota: a supportive environment and a way to make a difference on campus through her interest in law and development.

She found both at a rock concert.

Founding ONE

At a concert by the rock band U2 last summer, Buchholz met a few community organizers for the nonprofit organization called the ONE Campaign who took the time to talk to her about their mission. ONE, an organization started by U2 frontman Bono and eleven major nonprofits (Save the Children, Oxfam, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to name a few), is a global campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable disease.

The concept of the ONE Campaign was intriguing to Buchholz. As a political science student at the U, her interests in international development and education in developing countries fit well with the campaign’s mission. The only problem was that the University didn’t have a current chapter of ONE.

Buchholz got in touch with the campus organizing manager, and soon built a coalition that had the support of students, professors, and administrators across campus. Since the club’s inception in November 2017, they have hosted events and held conversations on important issues surrounding poverty and education in relation to women. The group hosted an International Women’s Day event in March with a screening of the film “Momma Rwanda” about entrepreneurship in Rwanda.

“Knowledge is an empowering force. Education empowers and inspires people to get out of poverty by their own means,” Buchholz says.


Another important aspect of the ONE Campaign is getting constituents to hold elected leadership accountable. ONE’s efforts have helped representatives realize that foreign aid is really important. 

Buchholz, through her leadership with ONE, has seen opportunities open up for her to get involved in the politics outside of campus. “I was able to travel to DC with the ONE campaign and lobby for cosponsors for the newly introduced BUILD Act, which establishes a development finance corporation for United States entrepreneurs who want to expand their businesses to high risk areas, specifically developing nations,” says Buchholz. 

Additionally, she was able to meet with staff from multiple Minnesota representatives such as Senator Tina Smith and Senator Amy Klobuchar, as well as Congressman Tom Emmer and Congressman Keith Ellison. The BUILD Act is an innovative way for private-sector money to be put into workers’ wages, infrastructure, jobs, and businesses in developing countries.

“Being able to lobby people who can make a difference on such a large scale, and trying to garner their support, was a life-changing experience,” Buchholz says.

Buchholz's activism on campus and in the state of Minnesota has made her take a look into lobbying and nonprofit consulting when she graduates from the U, where she feels she’s gained strong researching and communication skills with her political science background. ONE has helped her forge relationships with representatives and staff in politics, giving her a strong base for her future. 

This summer, Madeleine will be interning with the ONE Campaign at its headquarters in Washington DC as its United States Policy intern, researching legislation related to international development- behind-the-scenes information that she looks forward to bringing back to the University of Minnesota community.

On campus, ONE’s mission is not only to inform and discuss issues of poverty around the world, but also to separate the politics that surround an issue like poverty. ONE is a group that is trying to bridge the gap between separate corners in government.

As Buchholz says, “Poverty is a people issue, not a party issue.”

This story was written by an undergraduate student in CLA.

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