When the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) begins today in Geneva, Switzerland, it will be one of historic measure. Not only because the WHA be electing a new Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), but also because of its sheer scope.

Early on a beautiful spring morning in the nation’s capital, a group of Georgetown University undergraduates gathered on the corner of First Street and Constitution Avenue, far from their textbooks and thoughts of their looming final exams. Their unusual study break? A day of meetings with congressional offices to advocate against cuts to critical U.S. government funding for global health.