Dan Coviello ’13 arrived at Lehigh hoping to augment his environmental engineering studies with community service.
“I’ve always been dedicated to service,” he says. “When I came to Lehigh, I was excited about the difference I could make in my local community and globally as well.”
Coviello recently spoke at the United Nations on volunteerism and the role of young people in effecting global change.
The opportunity came about through Lehigh’s United Nations Partnership, which provides students, faculty and staff with a link to the UN. Lehigh is one of the few universities recognized by the UN as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). The status enables Lehigh to send students to UN conferences and private briefings, offer UN internships at NGO offices worldwide, and host ambassadors and other UN delegates on campus.
Coviello became involved with the UN Partnership through an international service trip to Antigua arranged by the Community Service Office and the Global Union.
“Since I have a passion for the environment, we were able to set up a meeting with the Environmental Awareness Group, the sole environmental NGO in Antigua,” he says. “We’re helping them become accredited with the UN so they can access more resources.”
A journey that began with the Boy Scouts
Because of Coviello’s work with Engineers Without Borders and the Community Service Office, he was invited by the UN to speak as a panelist in a briefing called Our Year, Our Voice: From IYY to IYV+10 – Young People Building Partnerships and Promoting Dialogue.
“I talked about my journey into the service world, which started with Boy Scouts and the values I learned from my parents,” says Coviello. “At Lehigh, I’ve been able to put them into action through the campus network of service organizations.
“The message I tried to convey was that even young people can make a difference and create change. By harnessing the power of youth, the UN can reach a sector of the population that is currently untapped.”
After his speech, Coviello was invited to Germany for the United Nations Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations on sustainable development and volunteerism.
“The dual theme was a perfect marriage of my passions—environmental engineering and community service,” he says. “This gave me an opportunity to work with youth from around the world to solve global problems.”
A well-equipped engineer
Lehigh has equipped him with solid fundamentals in environmental engineering, says Coviello, while helping him develop the intangible skills of leadership, collaboration, persuasion and effective communication.
“At Lehigh, you learn not only computational and problem-solving skills but also how to work on cross-disciplinary teams to solve problems.”
This, he says, prepares students for international endeavors.
“You can’t just go into another country and engineer a solution. You have to be able to speak to people to find out what their needs are and how you can best meet them.”
Coviello is grateful to Lehigh for helping him follow his passions.
“By coming to Lehigh and studying engineering, all of these opportunities have been made possible.”