On a Monday morning in San Francisco's financial district, 22-year-old Brian Dvorak looks like any other three- piece-suited researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank. It's not surprising to learn this serious-minded, bearded young man was an honors graduate in economics at the University of California at Berkeley and president of the Berkeley College Republicans, or that he comes from a family of businessmen.
Unlike most young bankers, however, Brian considers his job a two-year layover en route to a lifetime career fighting world hunger.
"I underwent big changes in my junior year," he says. "I abandoned the Republicans, worried about my role in society, and read constantly. 'Food First ,' a book by Frances Lappe [and Joseph Collins], really impressed me. And once I was convinced that world starvation could be beaten, I switched from the 'Get Money' game to the 'Fight Hunger' game."
Brian became a volunteer researcher at Hunger Project's headquarters in San Francisco, where he was soon spending 40 hours a week. Now he puts in about 30 after-work hours."I may eventually get a job with Hunger Project or the World Bank," he says. "Either way, I'm determined to make a difference, to change things."
Fifteen years ago -- during the anti-Vietnam and pro-civil rights movements -- it was commonplace for 22-year-olds to talk this way. Today, a prevalent image of campus life suggests a herd of career-bent students tramping through the portals of law and business schools, flattening underfoot the idealistic values associated with the student movement of the '60s and early '70s. But according to many counselors, students, and spokesmen for social service agencies, that image may not be entirely accurate.
"We may not get as many calls as we did during the Vietnam era, but we get fewer naive do-gooders. And one person with skills is worth five equally well-intentioned people without them," says Margaret Bacon, assistant director of information for the American Friends Service Committee. "More kids today have a sophisticated long-term-goal perspective on international problems. It is different from the old attitude of 'we're in the struggle -- until the war is over,'" she adds.
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