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Student Group Building Tomorrow, Today

A new group on campus is dedicated to raising enough money by 2015 to build a school in Uganda. Building Tomorrow Logo

Building Tomorrow, an international organization, is a social-profit organization encouraging philanthropy by raising awareness and funds to build and support educational projects for children throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Doane's chapter of Building Tomorrow was nationally affiliated in the fall semester of 2011.

First-year student Aileen Gelb was involved in bringing the group to campus.

"We were reading Half the Sky in my LAR [Liberal Arts Seminar], and my professor encouraged us to help out and make a difference" Gelb said. "Helping with education seemed like it would be a good connection to the class."

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 25 percent of the population in Uganda is between the ages of 10 and 19. However, only around 15 percent of that number obtains a secondary school education.

Building Tomorrow academies are built in areas that do not currently have a formal school in operation, giving many children their first opportunity to learn inside of a classroom. Each school can provide an education for up to 325 students, grades one through seven.

 "It's been difficult trying to organize things," Gelb said. "But people surprise you. Just knowing about Building Tomorrow helps you realize how important education is. The average length kids in Uganda have to walk to school is 12 miles. It makes you appreciate things more."

First-year student Jacob White, one of the group's two heads of fundraising, said the goal was to raise $60,000 to build a school in Uganda by the time the group's first-years graduate in 2015. So far, the group has raised $1,000 toward their goal.

Fundraising activities so far have included selling paper bricks for one dollar, as "buy a brick, buy a school" and reverse trick-or-treating on Halloween.

The group also plans to use fundraising opportunities such as Tiger Wheels and selling cookies shaped like Africa at Doane and community events.

"It's difficult, but we're making progress," Gelb said. "Right now we're trying to find ways for each hall to be involved. We want people to know about it [the group]."

White said a goal of the group was to get the Crete community involved in the project, including competitions between Crete schools and Doane and donations from businesses.  

One hundred percent of the money raised will go to Building Tomorrow, and 100 percent of funds given to Building Tomorrow go toward building a new school. The group raises money to buy supplies to build the school, and community members where the school will be built donate their time to construct the school.

Meetings for the group are held every other Monday at 8:30 p.m. in the Conference room in Hansen. For more information, contact Gelb at aileen.gelb@doane.edu