WEB EXTRA: Groups ready for charity event

More than a dozen student groups will join together Thursday to do what they can to improve the lives of those affected by last year’s earthquake in Pakistan and the ongoing violence in the Sudanese province of Darfur.

With a variety show and slide presentation called GW AID, students hope to raise money for the two causes. The show is a spin-off of last year’s GW LIVE AID event, which benefited the areas devastated by the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Sophomore Vishal Hotchandani, treasurer for Class Council, helped turn last year’s LIVE AID event into what he hopes will become an annual show, benefiting a different cause year to year.

This year’s theme is “Manmade versus Natural Disasters.” Organizers began planning the event in November.

“While the earthquakes could not be prevented, in either situation, we can prevent further suffering,” said freshman Samantha Yanco, fundraising chair for GW Students Taking Action Now – Darfur. “Students can have a role in the effort.”

Student performance groups including GW Bhangra, Aatash, The Hawaii Club, Ballroom Dance Society, Capital Funk, Exit Clov, Recess and the Troubadours will all take the stage to raise money to benefit the two causes.

A slideshow presentation of images from the areas will give students an idea of the problems going on and what their money will be benefiting.

“This event has a big attraction of helping others and getting together with other student groups,” said sophomore Linda Fecteau, events outreach director for the College Democrats.

Organizers said 70 percent of the proceeds will go to the Edhi Foundation, a humanitarian group in Pakistan. The other 30 percent will be used to fund a 200-student school in a Darfur refugee camp run by UNICEF for children displaced by violence. GW STAND donates $500 each month to keep the school up and running, GW STAND organizers said. Hotchandani hopes to sell out the show, bringing in about $4,000. Last year’s program raised approximately $4,200.

“These are the type of charity events we need more on campus,” he said.

The groups involved hope to also bring more awareness of the issues to the student body.

“Maybe we can’t go to the area or pass legislation overseas, but we can do this much,” Fecteau said.

Class Council is sponsoring the event along with GW College Democrats, GW STAND, the Knights of Columbus and Program Board.

The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Marvin Center Betts Theatre, with doors opening at 6:30. Tickets are $10 at Ticketmaster or $12 at the door.

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