MU students raise money for East Africa

The fundraiser dinner is projected to raise between $600 and $700.

MU students from different organizations came together Monday night to raise money for East Africa in “The Horn of Africa Fundraising Dinner.”

The fundraiser aimed to promote awareness of the humanitarian crisis in East Africa with the proceeds going to Africare. The non-profit organization provides sustainable, long-term solutions to food security, health, water sanitation and emergency humanitarian assistance.

South Asian Students Association President Sheela Lal hopes this event will educate students about the impact that their actions can have.

“The famine and the political oppression that is happening in the horn Africa isn’t reported much in the news,” Lal said. “But if we were able to contribute enough money, (we) can make a complete impact in the area. Because of the exchange rate, one dollar from the U.S. goes a lot farther in developing nations. Spreading awareness that these countries really aren’t doing OK and then being able to show that we can help, even as college students, is a really good thing.”

In addition to food provided by several different student organizations, the event featured keynote speaker Residential Life Director Frankie Minor and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs.

Minor, who has visited Africa four times in the past three years, commended students for coming together to make an impact.

“The fact that they are coming together across cultures, distance, and language barriers to unite under a common cause is what it means to be a leader,” Minor said. “A lot of people bemoan these global tragedies but most people don’t do anything about them or simply try not to think about them or say somebody else should do something. I’m here to commend them for doing something, but also challenge them to do more. It’s about, what more can they be doing as student leaders?”

Minor said he encourages students to try to make a difference and advises them to take advantage of the resources they have here on campus.

“Move beyond your comfort zone,” Minor said. “I think it's human nature to stick with what you know. But I think there are such tremendous opportunities here, even on campus. There are the cultural student organizations, the ability to study abroad, and just the educational opportunities. Don’t stay with what’s familiar. Spoon feeding only shows you the shape of the spoon.”

For Muslim Student Organization President Taha Hameduddin, this fundraiser has been a long time coming.

“For the past few years, I know a lot of people have had the same idea, but it was just an idea,” Hameduddin said. “Then the vice president of MSO was talking about it and we decided we’d do it.”

Hameduddin and Lal have worked with other student organizations since November to the put on the fundraiser. Both agree that though raising money is important, they hope that students will take something away from the experience.

“Hopefully people will realize that it's not just about coming to school and studying, life is a bit bigger than that,” Hameduddin said.

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