NOTE: The Marlin Chronicle is the Official Newspaper of Virginia Wesleyan College. Students and a visiting professor of Chemistry from Ghana are participating as members of the Analysis team for HASE 2008 as a part of the Foundation's work in supporting graduate and undergraduate education. In the case of HASE 2008 this initiative is working to link students and education institutions in the United States and Africa to promote partnered research at all levels.
Source: Marlin Chronicle Online, September 11th, 2007 | Vol. XXIV Iss. 10
If you are unfamiliar with what it means to be a humanitarian, many of you may also be unaware that there are students and staff on campus who are humanitarians on an international scale. According to the Encarta dictionary, a humanitarian is defined as a caring person, committed to improving the lives of other people. As both writers and editors for The Marlin Chronicle, Katie Morris, Lauren Perry, and Elizabeth Appleyard can proudly categorize themselves as humanitarians because in January they will be attending a summit in Ghana that will address the health crisis in Africa.
It all started with Katie Morris, a junior who was informed about the January summit by her father, Colonel Robert Morris. Colonel Morris is a humanitarian who works, on the side, with Partners International. According to their website, www.partners-international.org, Partners International is a “public charity, not-for-profit organization composed of professionals in the field of humanitarian assistance planning and operations, organizational efficiency, and quality management philosophy.”
For one to two weeks this January, these three Marlins will travel to Africa as a part of the Partners International program HASE, Healthy Africa Scenario Exercise that “will bring together leading stakeholders from the Africa region and internationally to deliberate, and act, on Africa’s response to global epidemic risks.”
According to World Health Organization’s annual report, AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and the Avian Flu are wreaking havoc on the African continent. They continue to have a devastating impact on not only the African people but also Africa’s economy and security. Partners International seeks to “broaden and deepen dialogue, and contribute to actions that will help build Africa’s national and regional capacity for self-sufficiency.”
By exploring the area and its people, making contacts with the culture, and recording all of the information gained on the trip in cooperation with Partners International, these three students together hope to bring the health crisis in Africa to the forefront of the VWC community.
Senior Elizabeth Appleyard also conveys a great interest in improving the lives of those less fortunate. She decided to go on this trip because of the uniqueness of the opportunity and experience available to her in Africa. As a writer and editor for the Marlin Chronicle, Appleyard hopes to bring back all of the information about the health crisis in Africa and help spread the word across the Norfolk campus. She said that “this trip will not only allow me to see first hand the devastation that is possible in another country, but hopefully in some small matter allows me to assist on the road to recovery. I am a firm believer that every little bit helps, so maybe through what I can document there might bring some peace to someone or at least get people thinking.”
Features editor Lauren Perry, having visited Vietnam this past summer, got the invite from Dr. Ruehlmann, who was also notified about the trip by Colonel Morris. Perry hopes that the trip proves to “be a meaningful and important experience and that the information gathered and reported on will have an impact on people.”
Morris, Appleyard, and Perry all have a similar goal in mind. However, this isn’t the first time that Morris has sought to bring attention to an international issue. As a resident of Johnston Hall, she does a project every year to in order to maintain her residency in this hall. Last April, Morris did a project on the genocide in Rwanda. She states that she makes it her personal motive to always “get behind a good cause, tell people, and that’s what makes it a worthwhile goal.”
Morris also hopes that her involvement in humanitarian efforts will spreawd among other students on campus. In the future she hopes to continue participating in these conferences to encourage more student involvement. The generated interested in humanitarian aide could possibly even spark more interest in studying abroad. Being heavily involved in the OIP office, Office of International and Intercultural Programs, directed by Lena Johnson, Morris states that “there are more international programs than people realize to include I.C.E. and I.S.O. (International Student Organization).”
“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something,” is a creed by which those participating in the African summit, including Morris, Perry, and Appleyard, live by. In assisting overseas, they are not only spreading hope for others, but also serving as an inspiration to get involved in Africa and humanitarian efforts here on the home front. Flora Edwards, a South African born industrialist, reminds us that “in helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.”