STAND Quadruples Fundraising Money, Raises $1,300 With the Help of New Text Message Donations

STAND, Andover’s student anti-genocide coalition, raised $1,300 last week to benefit genocide victims in Darfur. The $1,300 was four times the amount of money raised in previous years, said Eric Sirakian ’10, Co-President of Andover’s STAND chapter. Sirakian attributes the fundraiser’s success to the significant increase in participation from club members this year. One new method of fundraising this year was through text messages. The text messages allowed those who didn’t have any change on them to donate, helping to raise more money, said Sirakian. Mick Wopinski ’11 said, “I was walking to Commons, and I wanted to donate some money to STAND’s fundraiser, but I didn’t have any change. Luckily, I asked one of the kids there, and they told me I could text a donation, so I did.” Sirakian said that the phone text donations go to the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-NET). This organization works hand in hand with STAND and Pledge2Protect. According to its website, GI-NET empowers individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. Many students were unaware, however, of the texting alternative. Mark Adamsson ’11 said, “If I had known that I could have texted in a donation, I would have been glad to have done so.” Raymond Chen ’10 said, “I didn’t have any change with me for the STAND fundraiser, and I wish I had known about the texting donations.” Another feature that STAND has recently incorporated is the class competition. “Everybody wanted to help their class win, so they donated whatever change they had,” said Sirakian. Sirakian said that another aspect of the fundraising that contributed to STAND’s profits was the holiday atmosphere. “[The fundraiser] was the week before Thanksgiving, which is a time for giving back and sharing,” he said. STAND donated the cash collected to a school in Eastern Chad. “The money is to help provide food, water and school equipment like textbooks and paper to this school,” Sirakian said. According to Sirakian, Andover’s STAND chapter has grown over the years. “We’re a relatively small chapter compared to the entire STAND organization of over 10,000 people,” he said. “I am just really grateful that everything went smoothly and [that] we were able to raise so much money,” he continued. The one aspect of the fundraiser that disappointed Sirakian, however, was the apathetic nature of many students. “We didn’t face too many disappointments, [but] when people walk right by us and pretend that they can’t see us or blatantly ignore us, it is bothersome,” he said. According to Samantha Peloquin ’12 said, “I like to donate to fundraisers that are run by the school clubs. I think that most of them are doing it for a good cause.” Sirakian mentioned that he and the rest of the STAND members have also been planning an event for the winter term.