UM students are generally known for being top partiers, having an involved Greek life and frequenting bars. But two students, Kristin Volker and Abby Olivier, are adding something else to that title: charitable.
Volker, a sophomore, and Olivier, a senior majoring in public policy leadership, have established the UM chapter of ONE, a non-partisan activist group that works toward bringing awareness to the hardships faced in Africa. Because the organization does not raise money on its own, the members are unable to actually travel to Africa, but they do have an impact on American policy and how Americans see the problems facing Africa, according to Olivier.
The national organization was founded in 2004 by a group of 11 non-profit humanitarian groups, including that of U2 lead singer Bono. Since its inception, the group has been influencing political ideals with a highly visual campaign aimed to show the public hardships faced by the people of Africa. Because of the national organization’s connections to Congress and wealthy celebrities, the group has played a role in the welfare of Africa.
Currently, the foreign aid budget is less than 1 percent of total U.S. spending and may be cut altogether if more interest is not shown.
“We are calling on our leaders to make sure they preserve this tiny fraction of the budget that is providing life-saving AIDS drugs, vaccinating children and teaching farmers advanced agriculture techniques, so they can feed their families and entire communities,” Olivier said.
In the coming weeks, ONE will be asking campus chapters to participate in a social experiment of sorts. More than one billion people worldwide live off less than $1.50 a day, and ONE is challenging people to do the same and document their progress in order to show politicians the impact famine has on everyday life. College students are encouraged to participate and record themselves via blogs or pictures, or simply by keeping a diary.
Olivier, who also serves as the Associated Student Body vice president, said the new chapter is looking for students who wants to make their political impact on the world. “Our local chapter has lots of work to do, especially since we are so new,” she said.
New members can join by contacting Olivier at firstname.lastname@example.org or by checking out their Facebook page.[youtube]NdDxJMdFw1Q[/youtube]