This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ian Redman.
Hundreds of students packed Columbian Square Tuesday for the GW + Phones = Hope kickoff event featuring Chelsea Clinton.
Clinton joined former model and advocate Christy Turlington Burns and Emmy-award winning journalist Juju Chang to launch GW’s campaign to collect 20,000 used electronic devices.
The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the crowd to donate their used electronic devices to support international maternal health projects connected to the Clinton Global Initiative University, which will take place at GW in May.
“My father launched [the Clinton Global Initiative] on the basis that everyone who wants to make a difference, can and should. Real action shouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge,” Clinton said.
She explained each “Commitment to Action” are new, specific and measurable initiatives taken on by institutions.
GW is working with the national nonprofit Hope Phones to collect phones to benefit maternal health programs in Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal.
“The best way to address child survival is to invest in a mom. To invest in a girl before she becomes a mom,” Burns, the founder of Every Mother Counts, said. “Our campaign is focused on that angle, building a healthy family through the mom.”
The Hope Phones campaign was started in 2009 as a way to fund its parent organization Medic Mobile, which promotes health care improvements through the implementation of mobile devices in 11 countries.
“We will use the funds to develop mobile technology that turns low tech phones into a sophisticated medical communications device,” Tierney O’Dea, the campaign manager for Hope Phones, said. “This drive will help over half a million people.”
By the end of the event, the collection buckets stationed outside Columbian Square were brimming with phones and iPods.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Hae Min Lee, who donated four phones, said. “Students don’t know what to do with their old phones, so something like this is perfect.”