UNICEF at SF State grows in first semester
September 11, 2006 3:41 PM
SF State has a new student organization created to improve and protect the lives of children worldwide, particularly in developing nations.
UNICEF at SF State’s two main goals are to raise funds for and create awareness around children’s issues. The more people who are conscious of the challenges children around the world face, the more advocates you have for their cause, said Theresa Navarro, the organization’s president.
“I’m a child development major so I’ve seen a lot of sad images and statistics about children,” Navarro said.
According to UNICEF, 30,000 children worldwide – or the approximate student population of SF State – die daily from diseases such as polio and malaria. Annually, that is 11 million children.
The vast majority of these deaths are avoidable, and through UNICEF people can lend a helping hand.
When confronted by these harsh truths, Navarro said, a person can react three different ways.
“You can feel guilty, get emotionally drained and do nothing,” Navarro said, “you can feel like you’re only one person and do nothing, or you can come together to make a difference.”
“The essence of being an advocate is doing what you can do,” Navarro said. “As students we have the will to do those little things day by day.”
Start up money will be raised in the initial months, Navarro said, but afterwards all funds donated to UNICEF at SF State will be given to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the American fundraiser and cheerleader for UNICEF.
All of those proceeds will go toward UNICEF projects like helping kids stay in school and providing immunizations against diseases.
Planned events for this semester include an educational forum on war and its effects on children, a showing of Hotel Rwanda, and the “Trick-or-Treat For UNICEF” fundraiser, which will run through the month of October.
UNICEF at SF State has signed up 20 students to join the organization, including Mark Teramae.
Shirin Usmani is a second-year student working on a double major in international relations and biochemistry. Originally from Bombay, India, her father passed away this summer.
“He always went out of his way to help others,” Usmani said. “Working with UNICEF will give me the same opportunity and make my dad proud of me.”
Unlike Teramae or Usmani, Lawrence Tsai has never really been outside the Bay Area. Even so, the 19-year-old sophomore still thinks world events are important. Tsai is joining UNICEF not just to help children but also to support the United Nations, which he’s been interested in since high school.
Especially now Tsai thinks it’s important to “promote interaction between different countries.”
Executive members are in place, Navarro said, solely for administrative reasons. The rest of the organization’s activities are up to members and the committees they’re involved in. All members of UNICEF at SF State can sign up for, create or chair any committee.
The last recruiting meeting will be held Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. in T160 of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Regular meetings will begin the following week, and will be held at 4 p.m. on Fridays. For more information on UNICEF at SF State visit their Web site at www.unicef-sfsu.org.
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