Informational booths lined the Lory Student Center Plaza Wednesday afternoon at the Fall Involvement Expo — Colorado State University 2006 alumnus Michal Kmita sat among them, recruiting students to his organization The Invictus Initiative.
“The Invictus Initiative is approaching humanitarian development in a totally different way than past or current organizations even approach it,” Kmita said. “Our approach is helping people via relationships.”
The Invictus Initiative, established in 2011, is a humanitarian organization that sends out volunteers all over the world to help empower communities in need. Through an application process, Invictus connects students and young professionals with projects that fit their resources, skills and abilities.
“Our organization allows for you to serve in a capacity that’s convenient for you and your time frame, and really allows you to use your skill sets and really hone in on your passions,” Kmita said.
The most recent trip that Invictus funded was to a Kenyan community that expressed the need for a new bridge. With help from the engineering school at Colorado School of Mines, Invictus developed a new bridge design using local resources and materials from the community .
“Our role [in Kenya] was to be consultants to the community,” said Cody Clickner, a recent volunteer with Invictus. “We identify their needs and walk through it with them hand in hand.”
The idea for Invictus surfaced when Kmita decided to take a trip to Afghanistan with Sozo International in 2008. There, he met Invictus Initiative co-founder, David Pesek.
“We thought 150 years after we die, no one is going to remember what car we drove or what school we went to, so let’s do something meaningful,” Kmita said.
According to Programming Coordinator Drew Ferren, Invictus plans to reach out to several Colorado university campuses that specialize in engineering, nursing and natural resource programs. Invictus has made campus recruitment efforts at the University of Denver, the University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, as well as CSU.
“We get so many new ideas when we tap into new resources,” Ferren said.
Kmita, who graduated with a degree in finance from CSU, was excited to be back at his alma mater.
“We promote empowerment over dependency,” Kmita said. “We don’t ever want to be that organization that goes into a new community or country and think that we already know what their needs are. We would rather go into a community, build relationships, help them to solve their own problems at where they’re at, and then help them get to where they want to be.”
Collegian Reporter Amy Borngrebe can be reached at email@example.com or @Aborncollegian.