Voices for Justice Raise $16k for Ugandan Students

Saturday, April 8, 2017

When Rockhurst University’s Voices for Justice student group announced their annual Social Justice Week activities, they also announced how those activities would benefit students halfway around the globe.

Throughout the week of events like Karaoke for a Cause and the Fair Trade Fashion Show, the group said they hoped to raise $8,000 that would be matched for a total of $16,000 to provide scholarships for the students at Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu, Uganda.

It was an ambitious goal, but this week, the group announced that with the help of the campus community, they met it. Though the week always proves popular, senior Beverly Zielger said there was even more interest going into this year from nearly every corner of the University and beyond — from student groups to local businesses that decided to sponsor an Ocer student.

“I think the opportunity to share a Jesuit education with students in Gulu resonated with Rockhurst students, since we know and appreciate the value of a Jesuit education. We were surprised but excited at how quickly the Rockhurst community, especially individual students and student organizations, stepped up to sponsor a student,” she said. “There was definitely more energy around this Social Justice Week goal than I have seen in a long time.”

The $16,000 raised will provide 22 scholarships covering tuition, room and board, school supplies, meals and uniforms to students at Ocer Campion Jesuit College, a school founded to serve a rural northern portion of the country.

Nick Bader, a junior who was the chair for this year’s Social Justice Week, said the group knew that the goal was ambitious, so realizing that they were going to be successful was an overwhelming feeling.

“There was definitely a moment of disbelief,” he said. “As reality began to sink in, there was a feeling of complete joy.”

Bader said he thinks that the connection that Rockhurst has with Ocer — a three-year-old internship program during which Rockhurst students spend 10 weeks at the campus — and personal stories from the students there that were shared throughout the week helped as well.

“I believe the personal aspect of this cause — the fact you could read about and see pictures of the individual students at Ocer — tapped into the uniquely Jesuit calling of magis,” he said. “This was no small feat.”