Campus groups collaborate in humanitarian aid efforts

Justin Jones

(Mia Lerch)

Last weekend, several Lawrence organizations gathered to engage with the campus community in humanitarian causes. Members of Students War Against Hunger and Poverty and the Wriston Art Collective joined forces Saturday, Oct. 2 with two Lawrence alumni, Rebecca and Oliver Zornow ’10, to put on Paint for Haiti, an event raising money for a school in the Haitian region of Caneille.
Additionally, Sunday, Oct. 3, Amnesty International held a bake sale for flood relief in Pakistan, complete with desserts from around the world and live music. Together, these events represent a strong start for a new year of human rights activism here at Lawrence.
Paint for Haiti was the brainchild of Rebecca and Oliver Zornow. For a small donation students could buy a canvas, paint it and then either buy it to keep for themselves or donate it to be sold to local art vendors.
The Zornows have been providing aid to Haiti since their senior year in high school. After visiting Haiti and witnessing the troubled state of the school system, they started the Caneille Regional Development Fund, which funds a free school in walking distance of Caneille.
“It all started with a few small fundraisers,” said Rebecca Zornow, “Now [the school] is in its fifth year, with about two hundred students from first to sixth grade.”
The Zornows’ story is an excellent example and model for current Lawrentians trying to provide aid to those in need throughout the world.
“I think [these types of events] can be very successful,” says Christine Seeley ’12, the president of WAC.
Added Seeley, “Though the weather’s not the best today, there’re still people coming out and I’m sure if we try this again the turn-out will be even better.”
Such positivity was a recurring theme throughout the weekend’s events.
The Amnesty International bake sale for flood relief in Pakistan, featured folk music from Katharina Zosseder ’13 and Lydia Darrow ’13, speeches by Aimen Khan ’13 and Assistant Professor of Government Ameya Balsekar and many baked goods for sale.
Chuck Demler ’11, president of Amnesty International, organized the bake sale and described why the event was about more than raising money.
“We want to raise awareness, foster collaboration between campus organizations, and get these letters signed,” Demler said, referring to letters urging President Obama to address various human rights violations occurring in Pakistan. Quite a few of the letters were signed during the event.
The event seems to have succeeded in fostering collaboration;, the baked goods on sale were provided by organizations ranging from the Muslim Student Association to Sustainable Lawrence University Garden.
“We wanted to have an event early in the year to get the ball rolling,” said Demler. “But there’s still a long way to go.”
All groups involved plan to continue to motivate the campus and work together to create tangible changes.

(Mia Lerch)

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