WKU Wins "Global Awareness" Award

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Global poverty is a crisis that continues to grow everyday.

Whether you realize it or not, lack of food and basic necessities are affecting the lives of millions of people every year.

Since September, students at WKU have been pitching a "grassroots" campaign to raise awareness of global issues.

They have been competing in the "ONE" Campus Challenge that's sponsored by the United Nations.

These young activists say the whole experience has changed life on campus for the better.

"A couple of students said they were familiar with the ONE Campaign and they heard they were going to start a campus challenge and asked if we could do an initial event called stand up, speak out," says Campus Activities Board Coordinator, Azurdee Garland.

"We got up there and had our sheets on our clipboards and started talking to the people and people started getting excited about this," says WKU freshman and activist, Charlie Francis.

From there, student participation spread like wildfire.

They began holding other events that allowed students to sign petitions asking Congress for help.

They even took their fight out into the community.

"They were right there at the skate park talking to 13 and 14-year-old's about what really goes on in the world. What goes on in their own communities that they might not be aware of," says Garland.

WKU freshman and activist, Charles Francis, says it really sparked a change in philosophy around campus.

"They talked to each other. They challenged each other to basically stop the world deterioration," says Garland.

The seven-month journey culminated in a "day of activism" that brought out thousands of students to bring awareness to the cause.

"On our one day of action, we had over 1,700 students in one day commit to the fight against poverty," says student and activist Matt Vaughn.

"We did more in one day than any other college did in a whole year," continues Vaughn.

All of that work has earned WKU first place in the "ONE" Campus Challenge.

But Harris doesn't want the university to stop the philanthropy work it' begun, just because it's won a national award.

"We've got the title. We've been recognized as the most globally active and aware, but its meaningless unless we take it from here. We take the next step and we start looking a different efforts," encourages Francis.

Some of the issues these students hope to tackle are the continuing genocide in Darfur and local environmental issues.

For winning the campus challenge, the university will receive a concert and video messages by singers Bono and Chris Daughtry.

To learn more about the ONE campus challenge click here.

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