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Students Raise over $4K for Foreign Aid

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Ninety-two CMU students contributed to Pearson Challenge in support of education in Uganda
For release November 25, 2010

As a student body, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) beat its goal of raising $4,000 for foreign aid through its 2010 Pearson Challenge by almost $300.

CMU Student Council kicked off its annual Pearson Challenge October 25, 2010, encouraging students to make a difference in the global community by personally donating 0.7% of their tuition costs to foreign aid. Students turned in their pledges in November, along with signed letters calling for action from the Canadian government regarding development assistance.

The Pearson Challenge at CMU has run each fall since 2005.

The campus challenge commemorates the 1969 Partners in Development commission report presented by Canada’s then Prime Mister, Nobel Prize winner Lester B. Pearson, to the World Bank. In the report, commission chair Pearson and members of the commission recommended that 0.7 per cent of a country’s income be donated for development assistance. Adopted by the UN General Assembly and by the Canadian government, this recommendation became the benchmark for foreign aid by developed countries.

“Forty-one years later, Canada is barely meeting half of that commitment each year,” says Erin Weaver, CMU’s Vice President (VP) of Student Relations on Student Council (CMUSC), who headed up the 2010 challenge.

“This year, it seems to have really taken off,” says Weaver. “We raised more money and had more student participation than ever before.”

Ninety-two CMU students participated, raising $4,278, compared to $2,600 raised in 2009.

That sum will be added to CMUSC’s matching fund of $2,500, for a total of $6,778.  The $6,778 total is only about $700 short of the $7,500 goal that represents 0.7% of total tuition paid at CMU for one academic year.

This money will be donated to the college’s event partner, Global Family’s “Hope Never Runs Dry.” This Mennonite Central Committee AIDS prevention outreach program allows children of AIDS-affected families in the Kamuli district of central Uganda to attend school.

“The fact that we, as an institution, almost met Pearson’s recommendation is amazing,” Weaver says. “We hope to get even more involvement and reach the 0.7% of total tuition goal next year.”

She adds that CMUSC’s dream is for the campaign to spread to other schools across Canada and notes that Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, ON) is already starting up an event inspired by CMU’s Pearson Challenge.

“Pearson Challenge is not just about raising money for a good cause,” says Weaver. “It’s about sending a challenge to the Canadian government to fulfill its promise and to show Canada that this level of generosity is possible, even for university students.

“As a Christian school that promotes values based on the life and teachings of Christ, CMU wants to take steps in making a more equitable world,” she continues. “Pearson Challenge is our way of taking those steps.”

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through its Outtatown discipleship program. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For Pearson Challenge information, contact:
Erin Weaver, CMU Student Council

For CMU information, contact:
Nadine Kampen, Communications & Marketing Director
Tel. 204.487.3300  Ext. 621