Student Anti-Genocide Coalition Raises $1,647 to Fund Protection Programs Against Darfur Genocide

For two weeks in the lobby of Commons, students and faculty inserted dollar bills and change into large plastic jugs in a fundraising effort to support Darfur. The Phillips Academy chapter of STAND, Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, sponsored the Change for Darfur fundraiser to raise money for the region of Darfur in western Sudan. From October 23 to November 2, STAND raised a total of $1,647. The money will go to the Genocide Intervention Network, a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. with a mission “to empower individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide.” Around 80 percent of the donations will fund programs and activities to protect civilians in the Darfur region. The fundraiser involved a competition between the faculty and the four classes. Each group had a jug in which to deposit money. Later, the money deposited in each jug was counted and converted into points. Paper bills represented negative points, while change represented positive points. The group with the most points at the end of the fundraiser would receive an ice cream party. Lowers placed first with -123.68 points, Seniors placed second with -139.87, Uppers came in third with -173.78 points and fourth place went to the Class of 2011, which accumulated -182.37. Faculty placed last with -189.47 points. “We started with the idea for a penny game, and we tweaked it to be financially suitable for this school. We thought if cash was negative to sabotage, then people would give more cash to spread around to grades that they weren’t in,” said Daniel Glassberg ’09, President of Phillips Academy’s chapter of STAND. Glassberg also said that it was difficult to determine which group had donated the most money due to the system of the competition. “Uppers raised the most money by giving change. However, in terms of cash, it is difficult to say which group gave the most,” said Glassberg. Phillips Academy’s chapter of STAND came into existence after Glassberg spoke with the founder and Executive Director of the Genocide Intervention Network Mark Hanis after an All-School Meeting in October 2006. “I first met Mark Hanis two summers ago. I also interned at STAND over the summer and so I know the people of the organization, so I trust that the money will be going to protect the right people,” said Glassberg. Other members of the STAND board felt strongly about this fundraiser as well. Many devoted four to five hours of their lunch periods throughout the week to call on students and faculty to donate. Co-Vice President of STAND Blaire Pingeton ’09 said, “I think that we as humans create a lot of problems for ourselves. Genocide is something that you have no control over if you are the victim… It is no fault of your own, and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. So I think that it is one of the first problems that humans need to solve.” “[This fundraiser] is going to help protect and arm the troops that are protecting civilians in Darfur, and will also go to the refugee camps. Even just $3 can help protect a woman in Darfur for a whole year, and so the money we raise will really, really make a difference,” Pingeton said. “In our first fundraiser we made substantially less, and I think it’s good that the club is getting a lot more awareness.” Many students felt that competition with other grades, in addition to the beneficial cause to help Darfur, acted as an extra incentive to donate money to the fundraiser. “Everyone has a lot of class pride, so a lot of Juniors put bills (negative points) into Senior buckets, and vice versa. One Senior actually got rolls of quarters and put them in the Senior bucket, saying that she would not lose,” said Mimi Tanski ’11, a member of STAND. “I think that most people wanted their class to beat the other classes, but there are probably a lot of people who actually wanted to help Darfur. Whatever the reason, it went to a good cause.” Geoff Green ’10 said, “It’s a good way to help with the situation in Darfur, and at the same time beat the Class of 2011.”