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Wofford named as top 10 ONE campus in anti-poverty effort

ONE Campus 1
2009-03-09

$1,000 grant provides funds for programming, chance at top selection

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Tomas Moreno wants to give away the secrets to the success of ONE at Wofford, which was named recently as one of the top 10 in the national ONE Campus Challenge to raise awareness of extreme global poverty and preventable disease. There’s a bigger prize at stake than the on-campus concert by the band Vampire Weekend the winning school will receive, he says.

“We think it’s important to help other activists around the country so they can participate and work to help this cause, too,” says Moreno about the Wofford group’s new blog on which members will follow step-by-step the progress of their upcoming programs. “It’s very important that we set this up to have a bigger impact than just our campus.” The blog can be found at http://oneatwofford.blogspot.com.

Moreno and the dozens of students involved in ONE at Wofford were informed earlier this week of their achievement as the #9 ONE campus in the Campus Challenge. The college is in the company of the University of Southern California, the University of California-Davis, Baylor University, the University of Florida and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. “We’re right up there with some pretty big schools,” says Moreno, a sophomore from Modesto, Calif. “The smallest, besides us, in the top 10 is Curry College, which is twice our size. Making the top 10 is a reaffirmation that this is a big deal on Wofford’s campus, and we have been able to accomplish a lot. People are taking notice.”

“The ONE Campus Challenge is ONE’s effort to empower, inform and mobilize the next generation of social justice activists,” says David Lane, ONE president and CEO. “The students’ energy, idealism and creativity are unmatched, and they are accomplishing great things on campuses across the nation. This year we’ve seen students engage the presidential candidates on the campaign trail, lobby their representatives and senators around key initiatives, and recruit thousands of new ONE members on their campuses. The final 10 schools will use their grants to take their advocacy to the next level and impact larger audiences that ever before.”

ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information visit www.ONE.org.

ONE campus 2To get to the top 10, Wofford students have completed an impressive list of activities to draw attention to these global problems, for which they received points in the competition. In the fall, the group coordinated a Hunger & Poverty Week, teaming up with Amnesty International, AWARE, and Oxfam America. There was a canned food drive and a major awareness campaign. An Oxfam America Hunger Banquet was held to simulate food distribution around the world and the disparities of that distribution.

ONE at Wofford also has sent students to a variety of conferences focusing on poverty and social justice, including Engaging Our World, Power 100, and the Power Shift ecoconference, where Moreno spoke on the effects of climate change on world poverty. A Wofford student also attended the Impact Conference, the largest and longest-running social justice conference for students.

Now, ONE at Wofford has the chance to be recognized as the top campus in the country in the second annual ONE Campus Challenge, won last year by Western Kentucky University. “The ONE Campus Challenge is about inspiring effective advocacy,” says Maisie Pigeon, ONE’s Student Outreach coordinator.

Moreno says the push is on over the next month – the deadline for programs to count toward the top campus is March 29.

“We will have 12 events to put on by the end of the month,” he says. “They’ll all happen before spring break (the week of March 29).” Among the events will be an art competition in which the winning design will be displayed on the backs of T-shirts. During the week of March 16, ONE at Wofford will partner with the campus Wesley Fellowship and Dr. Karen Goodchild’s African art class to distribute information about malaria and to sell T-shirts, with all proceeds going to the Nothing But Nets organization; the shirts are 100 percent fair trade, sweat-shop-free and organic.

“Teach-ins will be held all month in various classrooms, and we will hold a panel discussion on March 24 about ‘what is so fair about fair trade,’ discussing the implications of policies on local and national communities,” Moreno says.

The climax of the month-long emphasis also will be held on March 24, but Moreno wants to keep the exciting details quiet for a little while longer. “It will be a climactic event.

“Remember,” he adds, “in the meantime, every step of the planning of these events, and their results, will be available on the ONE at Wofford blog. We’ll be updating that frequently.”

The Top 10 in the ONE Campus Challenge (www.one.org/campus):
1. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
2. Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Conn.
3. Baylor University, Waco, Texas
4. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.
5. University of California-Davis, Davis, Calif.
6. Webster University, St. Louis, Mo.
7. Curry College, Milton, Mass.
8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Mich.
9. Wofford College, Spartanburg, S.C.
10. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.