Student Voice


May 23, 2024



Need for philanthropy org recognized

May 8, 2008

I never liked clubs. Going to first meetings of any club was always awkward, and there were hardly any enthusiastic attendees. The first meeting was always the last meeting I would attend. A club or organization should consist of people who encourage and influence each other positively within an area of interest.

  Communication is vital for an effective, successful organization, and in this age we have the means to accomplish that communication. A strong will is also important if you want anything to get done. Add these qualities to a group of people with big hearts, who want to change the world, at least a little bit at a time, and you have something like the Peace Corps or Greek fraternities and sororities.

  But if you are an undergraduate who does not want the baggage that Greeks carry, and who still wants to do work for the community, or rather, international aid, then perhaps UW-River Falls is in need of a philanthropy club.

  Alyssa Olsen and I are organizing a donation drive for clothing and school supplies, as well as other items, for orphans in a slum of Nairobi, Kenya.

  With guidance and enthusiasm from multicultural director Linda Alvarez, we were inspired to bring the project a step further and extended it to the River Falls community. 

  You could help prevent the blisters on a child’s feet with donated shoes; you could prevent diseases by giving clothing or donating money to build latrines that would eliminate the waste that covers Kiambiu, the slum in which these children live.

  After learning more about the conditions and the lack of necessities that these children and their community have, and the things that they have lost, it has enticed the two of us into giving a helping hand. As Linda put it, “think of it as giving a hand up rather than a hand out.”

  Alyssa and I are both geography students, and with that comes a love for the world and all its contents. 

  Beyond your Wii and color assorted wardrobe are nations with people that struggle for food everyday.

  Yes, we are all affected by the world’s food crisis, but at least we are able to pay for that head of lettuce.

  A philanthropy club would help to further our plans with Project Kiambiu. This would entail a group of people with a desire to change bad to good in a place outside of our country. There would be several projects throughout the year to work on, because there are many places in the world that need help from those that have the ability to give it.

  The projects would be a great way for students to feel good about themselves as they utilize their status as middle-class Americans for the best.

  The philanthropy club would encourage contribution, but the level of commitment is obviously optional. Any help is beneficial to someone, whether it be to the orphans in Kiambiu, starving Haitians, the homeless in Myanmar or the organizers of the project to help further the plans to help people less fortunate than us.

  Teresa is a journalism major and a geography minor in her senior year. She enjoys kangaroo burgers and creating pretty maps.

Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.