California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Spreading the word about malaria

What if someone told you that half of the world’s population is in danger of catching a deadly disease at this moment? According to the World Health Organization, over 650,000 deaths occur every year. Now, what if that someone told you there was already a cure?

Malaria is a disease transmitted by parasitic insects, like mosquitoes and ticks. If untreated, it can lead to severe illness and death. The WHO estimates that upwards of 90 percent of the deaths caused by malaria occur somewhere in Africa.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States has joined Lutheran organizations in 13 African countries in an effort to completely and totally eradicate malaria. Their efforts include providing the medicine necessary to treat malaria, educating people on how to treat malaria and teaching people how to protect themselves from the insects that carry the disease.

“My understanding is that the ELCA wanted to assist to achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating malaria,” said senior Daniel Chell, a member of California Lutheran University’s  Malaria Campaign. “This humanitarian work also goes along with the ELCA’s call to stewardship. It is part of treating others the way you would like to be treated, making human connections and assisting those in need.”

CLU’s Malaria Campaign has been raising money to meet the ELCA’s goals. So far, students have raised over $11,000 through events and fundraisers.

On April 24, the Malaria Campaign will host World Malaria Day 2014, a free event on campus designed to provide students a chance to be a hands-on part of this effort. Though attending the event is free, students are encouraged to bring a suggested donation of $10. For $15, students will receive a T-shirt and a meal ticket to redeem during the event.

In addition to gourmet hotdogs from Downtown Dogs and MOE Egg Rolls, there will also be student performers. Junior Jimmy Sweeden is in charge of the music for the event.

“There will be multiple musicians from CLU performing and, hopefully, helping draw a good crowd so we can raise awareness and hopefully money,” Sweeden said.

The CLU Malaria Campaign has hosted previous events to help raise donation money. They’ve hosted a professor variety show and a Reel Justice Film with the Center for Equality and Justice. At the Wellness Farmers Market, students have been selling “Malaria Merchandise” which are donated, normally handmade, goods from faculty and staff.

Malaria is a widespread and prevalent disease in many countries and with just a small donation, many people can either be prevented from getting it or be cured.

“I spent a month in Tanzania directing music at a children’s camp,” Sweeden said. “There, I met people who either had, or at least knew somebody who had had malaria at some point. When I donate, I realize that I am literally saving the life of one of my brothers or sisters.”

Senior Allison Westerhoff, one of the coordinators for the Malaria Campaign, is adamant that any amount that students give is important.

“This campaign has been an important project for CLU because not only are we able to make a real difference with our small contributions, but it allows for students to take ownership of their contributions,” Westerhoff said in an email interview. “Those $5 a student spends on Pastor Melissa’s cards, $15 on a scarf or even just a simple donation of 50 cents is a sign of global mindedness.”

Various groups on campus have become involved, as well. Using the donations and help from the Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government, the Center for Equality and Justice, the Lord of Life Student Congregation, the Community Service Center and Campus Ministry, the CLU Malaria Campaign has been able to ensure that every cent of proceeds from World Malaria Day will go toward the campaign rather than the costs of the event.

All the students involved in the Malaria Campaign agree that this cause is worth supporting. Their goal is to raise $15,000 by the end of May. They hope World Malaria Day will be the fundraiser that helps them achieve their goal. The Malaria Campaign is important to the ELCA, but more pertinently, to CLU students.

“CLU encourages us to be global leaders and this campaign truly gives students the opportunity to learn about global problems and then do something to make a difference,” Westerhoff said.

 

Megan Callery
Staff Writer
Published April 23, 2014

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