Clubs’ campaigns plan to raise money for reading

Two student charity groups are working to provide libraries in Afghanistan, Nepal

As Queen’s students buckle down for another semester of study, two student groups are kicking
off campaigns to raise books and money for students who don’t have the means to do so.

Ryan Gallagher, ArtSci ’07, is the president of Queen’s CognitivAction, a charity group that started this year, whose mandate is to work on a variety of causes.

“There are a lot of clubs with a specific mission,” Gallagher said. “I wanted CognitivAction to be multi-faceted.”

CognitivAction is working on “Books with Wings,” a campaign to collect medical textbooks to set up a medical library in Nangarhar University in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. “The idea behind the project is for people to gain knowledge within their own country, and not export students due to lack of resources,” Gallagher said.

“In countries without adequate libraries, you’d have to search the entire city for a couple of pages on calculus.” CognitivAction will set up a drop box near the Common Ground from Monday to Friday next week to collect medical textbooks. Gallagher said at least 750 books are needed to start a library, a goal the group hopes to exceed with a goal of 1,000 books.

Another student group that’s raising money for a similar cause is DREAM From today to Jan 29, John
MacDonald, ArtSci ’09 and DR EAM president, and Leslie Chan, Con-Ed ’08 and DR EAM public relations director, will live in a Suzuki SX4 to promote DR EAM’s aim to raise $10,000 to build three educational facilities in Nepal. The exact locations will be decided once the funds are received. Donated by Suzuki Canada, the car will be parked in the lobby of Stauffer Library. DR EAM contacted several car companies and Suzuki was the first to reply. “Really, how often are you going to see that?” Chan asked, adding that she hopes the car will attract attention and encourage more students to learn about their initiative.

DR EAM was founded in 2005 by Joanna Sue, ArtSci ’07, and Alvin Shin, Sci ’07. With its first initiative, Mission: Ultimate Stauffer Lockdown, during which Sue and Shin lived in tents in Stauffer for 10 days, DR EAM was able to raise more than $6,000. In partnership with Room to Read, an international charity, they were able to build a computer lab in a rural public school in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

“It was an amazing experience,” Sue said. “It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Sue said Stauffer library had no problem with having their event at the library because of last year’s success.

For the second installment of the Stauffer lockdown, the rules are similar: MacDonald and Chan must stay inside the roped off area at all times, may not attend classes, must sleep inside the car, and may
only leave the car for five minutes of every hour. Sue said the rules are meant to keep the participants in the roped off area for the maximum amount of time to ensure that they are visible to the public. DR EAM’s goal for the campaign is to raise $10,000, which will be donated to Room to Read and will go towards the construction of three school libraries. Sue said DR EAM’s mandate is to always aim high. “Our motto is, ‘Go big, or go home,’ ” she said. “The event we’re putting on is unique. We’re here to promote awareness and have fun.” Martha Whitehead, associate librarian at Stauffer Library, said the library staff are on board with the campaign.

“They were here last year, as you might recall sleeping in a tent, and we worked with them closely on that,” she said. “We thought it was a great cause and it’s related to libraries and learning so that’s why we thought it was a great fit.”

Whitehead said the car will be pushed in through a set of doors in the loggia area, outside of the union gallery. “It’s quite visible, it should give them a good profile.”

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