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UConn club to help at Carmeroon orphanage

By Olivia Balsinger
On November 5, 2012

Students looking for an organization that can assist the worldwide community through action with other peers have a new club tailored for them: "UConn Empower," a new club for students.
As stated on their website, UConn Empower's mission is a student group with the mission to "help to bring about long-term change by empowering the underprivileged through education and health care."
According to Lior Trestman, a 3rd-semester chemical engineering major and community relations chair of the club, UConn Empower has many components to it.
"Every year we research scores of small NGOs, from which we choose one to work with," said Trestman. "Throughout the year we raise money, awareness on campus, and plans with the organization to have maximal impact when we travel there in the spring."
According to Trestman, for the 2012-2013 academic year, the club will be working with the organization Better World Cameroon, which is an orphanage in western Cameroon.
"In addition to housing and feeding orphans, rescued child slaves, and handicapped children, Better World Cameroon is already looking at ways to improve their children's' chances as they leave the orphanage," said Trestman.
According to Trestman, the motto for the club is that they will have all sorts of fundraisers, though they never do bake sales. Their first fundraiser was this past Friday, where they had a "Super Smash Bros." video game tournament in Laurel Hall. Dining Services supported them by donating a case of Monster as the grand prize, and Domino's Pizza set up tables and handed out pizza they had donated, selling additional slices.
"We attracted about 150 students and raised more than 600 dollars. It was a fantastic success, and we are looking to make it a bigger bi-annual event," said Trestman. "We are collaborating with ASA, and they graciously fundraise for us at their events...One big component of our work and fundraiser on campus is to work collaboratively with other groups, and we hope to do that in a variety of ways."
In addition to the video game tournament, the club is planning on holding a fair in the spring or next fall with various events and booths. Students across campus realize the importance of these events in raising funds to assist others.
"Often times underprivileged people, especially in developing countries, simply don't have access to services we take for granted here and need some help whether it be in the form of health services, education, or financing to be able to provide for themselves," said Sarah Quirk, a 5th-semester business major who has personally spent time volunteering in Guatemala.
"The founding board of this group had members of many different groups on campus, all doing great work, but all lacking something," he continued. "Namely, we felt that many groups did many great things, but no one worked to empower individuals with long-term empowerment, offered students the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures, and worked to make organizations on campus more synergistic.
UConn Empower holds meetings every Monday at 9 p.m. in Schenker Auditorium.
 


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