Founders: Elizabeth Germain, Kaitlyn Gregg
Established: Fall 2008
Next meeting: Wednesday, 6 p.m. in Olson 147
Students interested in taking up the fight to end world hunger and poverty have a new option to get involved on the UC Davis campus.
NOURISH International, developed in 2003 to fight global poverty, recently established a chapter at UC Davis this fall and is looking for students to help. The organization currently has 23 chapters nationwide.
“Our mission is to eradicate poverty by engaging students and empowering communities,” said Elizabeth Germain, co-founder and co-director of NOURISH International at UC Davis.
During the school year, members put on “ventures,” which are student-run fundraisers on campus that increase awareness of global poverty and generate revenue at the same time, said Germain, a senior anthropology major in an email interview.
All of the profits go toward improving sustainable community-based development projects, she said. These projects include food and water security, HIV/AIDS and healthcare issues, irrigation systems and education overseas.
During the academic year, members of NOURISH International will decide on a developing country for which they choose to provide aid. They will seek nonprofit organizations in that area and form a partnership that will allow them to implement further plans for the project.
The criteria for the organization is that it has to be nonprofit, said Tyler Rattray, international projects director of NOURISH International.
“The organization needs to know the community specifically so that it can give us solid suggestions about what types of things the community needs for a chance at economic growth,” said Rattray, a junior majoring in political science and history.
For instance, Rattray said, providing a more efficient irrigation system would allow people to spend less time on growing food and provide division of labor.
To fundraise for the projects, NOURISH International is holding a series of fundraising events every quarter this year. Their goal is to raise $10,000.
“Ten-thousand dollars is quite lofty, but it’s the amount of money required for the project,” said Kaitlyn Gregg, co-founder and co-director of NOURISH International.
During the summer of 2009, the students plan to fly out to the developing country to put their plans into action. Although costs of the flight and lodging may be hefty, the students are going to pay for it all on their own.
“All of the money that is fundraised will go toward the project and is not going to pay for UC Davis students‘ airfare,” said Gregg, a senior international relations major.
The fundraisers, or “ventures,” will include banquets, benefit concerts, a Hold ‘Em for Hunger Poker Tournament, and a Run to End Poverty 5K/10K. Additionally, the organization plans to hold Hunger Lunch, an all-you-can-eat, low-cost meal to be held weekly at the Silo.
In addition to fundraising, NOURISH International will outreach to the Davis community at campus events and holds bi-weekly meetings to educate about global poverty.
They will hold a series of events that will include guest speakers, trivia games and an all-day fasting event.
At each meeting, held on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in Olson 147, the students discuss specific issues that affect different regions of the world. The next meeting on Wednesday will focus on issues specific to Africa such as HIV/AIDS.
The members hope to give UC Davis students a new perspective on the suffering that’s happening in the world and provide opportunities to help, said Marie Casabonne, campus and community relations director of NOURISH International.
“Most students want to help homelessness and poverty but don’t know how to take initiative,” said Casabonne, a junior human development major.
Students can become a member of NOURISH International by coming to the meetings and participating in the events year-round.
Gregg encourages students to start helping now. As students are taking classes that can make them passionate about global poverty, they don’t have to wait until after graduation to take action, she said.
“One of our strengths as students and young people is that we can bring our energy, enthusiasm and fresh perspective to development work,” she said.
There are 6 million college students in the U.S. who have potential to help, she added.
Although NOURISH International focuses on one community at a time, they can accomplish a lot if they can keep mobilizing students to work toward the goal, she said.
“If each one of us can spend a little time and energy to combat this problem of global poverty, we can make quite a difference,” Gregg said.
For more information on NOURISH International, visit network.nourishinternational.org/group/davis.
THUY TRAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.