New student group focuses on aiding impoverished countries

By Kayla Overbey

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A new University organization is expecting as many as 50 people at its first meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Alderson Auditorium. Adam Nicholson, the University chapter founder and a junior from Lawrence, will be preparing for the meeting.

“The auditorium can hold over 100-plus, so we’ll be ready for more, but we’d have to start cutting pizza slices in half.” Nicholson said.

Nourish International works against poverty by sending students to impoverished countries. It fundraises throughout the year by planning events both on and off campus.

The organization has sent student mission groups from 24 different universities across the nation to countries around the world. According to the website, the effect has been beneficial. The Ohio State University chapter provided a Peruvian community limited to only contaminated water with clean, drinkable water by installing pipelines and digging reservoirs and also provided a regional health fair.

“Over 300 locals attended the fair in Bello Horizonte to see the dentists, pediatricians, gynecologists and primary-care physicians that volunteered their time,”said Mackenzie Rapp, an OSU graduate.

As a student, Sindhura Citineni founded the organization at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2003. After a few years accompanied by mass success, the student movement grew and spread to other campuses. They established chapters at more than 20 universities, with more colleges adopting the program each year.

Students from Brown University and Cornell University established community-shared organic gardens in El Salvador by providing funds and assisting with physical labor. The chapter from the University of Pennsylvania trained 10 women with HIV on setting up a papermaking business in Uganda. The Texas A&M chapter hosted educational workshops in Guatemala about agricultural information, including how to use crops to their greatest value, how to build composting latrines and water safety among other things.

Currently, the chapter at Kansas consists of three executive board members. At the information fair during Hawk Week, about 70 students signed up and the chapter is expecting a large turnout at Thursday’s meeting. Nicole Lawson, venture director at Kansas and a senior from Shawnee, said the organization has a hands on approach and students can see the effect of their work directly.

“Instead of just studying the problems of the world, through Nourish we are able to be a part of the solution,” Lawson said.

Nourish International uses sustainable development projects to permanently affect the communities it helps. This means the organization’s efforts will continue to grow and the communities will be able to self-sustain long after their physical labor has finished.

The group is adamant about connecting with a wide range of students.

“We want and need diversity for this group to perform to its full potential,” Nicholson said. “Real life is happening right now. The world doesn’t stop spinning to wait for you to graduate. You can literally change the world while you’re still in college.”

— Edited by Mike Lavieri


Notes: After I was given a voluntary position with the UDK, they asked me to research a new group on campus and write a piece about them. I was ecstatic and eager, and this was my result.  Here is a link to the original article, online.


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