The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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SJU spreads the word about poverty

In an effort to spread awareness about global hunger and other worldly issues on campus, Campus Ministry and the Students for Global Justice organization sponsored a global awareness event Monday afternoon in front of St. Augustine hall. The event was done through the ONE campaign.

The ONE campaign is a coalition of over 2.4 million Americans made up of non-profit organizations, celebrity spokespeople and many other individuals who “seek to raise public awareness about the issues of global hunger, poverty, disease and efforts to fight such problems in developing countries,” according to the organization’s Web site.

During the event, students and staff handed out pamphlets on key global problems and how to get involved, as well as rubber bracelets supporting the ONE campaign to students.

Students were also asked to sign a petition to push for the U.S. government to add an additional one percent of federal funding to help the world’s poorest and undeveloped countries.

This is a primary goal of ONE and it is from this objective that the group derives its name.

“For me, it’s all about raising awareness for the students,” said Megan Fisher, a resident campus minister who helped head the event. “There are so many things in the world that are unjust and it’s important for students at the college level to have information about the realities of our world, both in New York and places far beyond.”

According to Fisher, Campus Ministry has been affiliated with the ONE campaign since last November and plans to hold another global awareness event during the Spring semester.

Campus Ministry, along with Student Life and campus organizations, will also be sponsoring a lecture during common hour on November 29 by Robert Macuau, a worker with the Catholic Relief Services in Africa.

The lecture will take place in auditorium A on the first floor in Bent Hall and the topic will be on AIDS in Africa.

Monday’s event coincided with the ONE campus challenge, a spin-off of the ONE campaign announced in September. The initiative is designed to get college students active in the fight against global issues.

The ONE campus challenge consists of three stages.

The first stage asks schools to complete a variety of challenges for points.

For example, getting a photo of a student group wearing ONE bands around campus can earn 75 points, organizing a group of students to spell out ONE in a public place using their bodies can earn 500 points and convincing the University’s December commencement speaker to talk about ONE in their speech can earn 5000 points.

Stage two, which should begin in early 2008, will call for selected activists and leaders from the top 100 college campuses to meet for the Power 100 summit in Washington, D.C.

At the end of this three day conference, the top 10 schools will receive $1,000 grants to help continue their fight against global poverty, which is the start of phase three.

As of November 6, St. John’s is ranked 42 out of more than 1,200 other participating universities and colleges.

Junior Jaclyn Nisbett, President of the Students for Global Justice organization, feels that these kinds of events are important, to serve as a reminder to students that they can make a difference.

“Most college students are pretty apathetic and live in a bubble that revolves around grades, exams and a social life,” she said. “Programs like ONE can help get students more involved and aware to the fact that there is a big world out there with much more serious problems that need our help.”
Sophomores Sean Bursztyn and Michael Garaufis, who volunteered to help get signatures for the event through their fraternity, say they support the cause.
“I’ve learned a whole lot about the poor conditions in other countries today and I think it’s important to keep everyone aware about things that are going on out in the world,” said Bursztyn.

Garaufis agrees. “It’s great to get everyone aware of the horrible situations out there in the world,” he said. “Things may not change over night, but this is a good start.”

Rory Quinn, who had previously never heard of the ONE campaign, gave his signature and his support to the cause.

“I think it’s a fair request,” said the senior. “I don’t know exactly how much government funding is going towards [helping global poverty] but at least 1 percent doesn’t seem like a lot.”

Freshman Lizet Balazi also signed her name to help increase federal funding for underprivileged countries.

“It looks like it’s for a good cause and it’s great to see that this is mostly a student run event,” she said.

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