Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Community service trip interns initiate new forms of individual fundraising

Illustration: Alex Bailey
Instead of relaxing at home or vacationing somewhere tropical during break, approximately 50 Whitman students will be spending a week focusing on social issues and service. As these trips become more popular, service trip interns are focusing on organizing more effective trip fundraisers.
Senior Shannon Morrissey and sophomore Rose Haag, service trip interns, have made it their goal to coordinate fundraisers more geared toward individual fundraising rather than mandatory group projects.
“There was a dessert night last year and we had mixed feedback on that because there was no option to opt out. On the other hand, a big event like that can’t happen without people. We decided not to do it again because we didn’t want people to feel forced,” Morrissey said.
This year, students participating in service trips have had two main fundraising opportunities: writing letters to potential sponsors and selling Big Cheese pizza vouchers so that they might receive a percentage of that customer’s pizza profits.
Haag cites past letter-writing campaigns as a motivator for the switch in focus from required fundraisers to optional ones.
“Some people had qualms about letter-writing. They were uncomfortable. That was our main incentive for making [fundraisers] more an individual thing,” she said.
Sophomore Bridget Tescher, a participant in the Issaquah trip, Art and Community Building, has been soliciting pizza vouchers on listservs for several weeks in order to help fund her trip.
“I think these fundraisers were pretty effective, but I would’ve liked to have more of them,” she said.
The most popular of the spring break trips, Relief and Rebuilding in New Orleans, also hosted a Super Smash Bros tournament as its own separate fundraiser. Senior Fritz Siegert, junior Spencer May and sophomore Ali Murray met with gamers in the Jewett main lounge on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 26 to host a “Super Smash Battle” and raise money to build houses for families who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina.
May is fairly pleased with the tournament results.

“Considering it was the first time we had this tournament, we had a very good turnout,” he said.

The tournament had 20 student participants and raised $120 to help fund the trip.

May feels that the work put into fundraising is worth it, and he is very excited to be a trip leader.

“New Orleans has a wonderful richness of culture. It sounds kind of cheesy, but the indomitable spirit of people there is really inspiring. I did a service trip there in high school and we saw people living in poverty who had suffered in the hurricane but were still thankful for life opportunities,” he said.

Spring break service trips each cost $400 per person with the exception of the trip to New Orleans, which costs $800 per person because of travel costs. Students can receive need-based scholarships to help fund trips, but students who don’t qualify for need-based aid must front the bill themselves.

Haag feels that though these aren’t small costs, they are still reasonable.
“I’ve heard in the past people voicing concerns about paying to do community service. But you’re paying for so many other things, like food and travel costs, visiting another community and doing activities,” she said.
Tescher has somewhat mixed feelings.
“On on hand, I don’t like paying lots of money to donate my time, but on the other hand, it pays for transportation and a week of housing and food,” she said.
Ultimately, however, Tescher feels that the trips are an experience worth paying for.
“I’ve never really been to the Pacific Northwest. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to travel and meet new people.” +
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