Queen's University

Music students hit high note with fundraising project

The sustainable relief project in Kikima, Kenya, supported by first-year music class. Photo courtesy of Eric and Anita Walters and The Creation of Hope.

Students enrolled in Social History of Popular Music ended their fall term by raising money to support a current relief project in Kikima, Kenya.

“University is a very supportive environment. There are so many students who are passionate about different issues,” says Emily Dawber (Artsci ‘13), one of the organizers of the initiative. “We’re always trying to raise money for something, but it’s hard to find money. In this case the timing really worked out.”

After seeing a video about the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine during a lecture on famine relief efforts by popular musicians during the 80’s, Nicole Chapman (Artsci ’13) wrote an open letter to her classmates. She talked about the need to burst through the “university bubble” and make a difference in the world. Course instructor Robb MacKay agreed to post her letter on the course Moodle page for students to view.

Ms Dawber read the letter and contacted Ms Chapman to suggest fundraising for Creation of Hope, a volunteer organization that provides sustainable aid to orphaned children in Kikima. They gave a brief presentation to the class about the organization’s work and impressive accountability record.

Organizers immediately received an encouraging response from their classmates. Students began collecting money in a bucket right away. Another student created a Queen’s Fights against Famine Facebook page to help coordinate the efforts and posted a copy of Ms Chapman’s letter. Before the end of the term they had raised roughly one dollar for every student in the large first-year class.

Mr. MacKay said he has shown the same clip in his lecture several times in the past, but he has never seen a class respond to it with such earnestness and industry.

“I think it’s meaningful that students drove this initiative rather than instructors. I think it meant more that it began as a student effort. They need to recognize that they have that power and responsibility,” says Mr. MacKay.

Ms Chapman and Ms Dawber may expand their campaign to other classes in the future.

Visit the Creation of Hope website to find more information about the organization.

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Last updated at 4:14 pm EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
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