Mount Allison students Amanda Brown, left, and Heather MacDonald look through some of the clothes at a ‘drop and shop’ fundraiser last March. TOWER PHOTO
Fourth-year honours international relations student Sydney Logan of Westfield, N.B., came to Mount Allison with a plan — to start a branch of “Because I am a Girl” on campus. By her second-year, in 2011, she had done just that. For Logan, the club is not just about raising money but also about raising awareness of the issues facing girls in poor regions of the world. Each year they have two signature events that address these goals.
Because I am a Girl is an initiative of Plan International that aims to break the cycle of poverty and gender discrimination.
“You cannot deny the facts anymore that if you support a girl by ensuring she gets healthcare and education, or in her family life, it will make a difference to families, communities, and eventually whole countries,” says Logan.
Logan was watching a documentary on bride burning in Mike Fox’s human geography class in her second year when she realized that she had to get started on her plan.
“I put up posters around campus about the first meeting and was hoping that five people would come out and then 25 people turned up. I realized that this was something people were interested in.”
On International Day of the Girl in October the group have an information table at the student centre where they raise awareness about the issues.
“It helps bring this to people’s attention because it is a different way of viewing things,” says Logan.
The group also raises money to support a girl called Harmni from Indonesia. They needed a signature event to do this and last year the group’s vice-president of fundraising, Hillary Thompson, came up with the idea for Drop Off and Shop. This is essentially a thrift shop made up of donated clothing from the Mount Allison community. The group partnered with another group on campus who planned a clothing drive for local homeless shelters, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
“By the week of the event Hillary’s living room was piled high with clothes. We did not expect such support,” says Logan.
The group hoped to raise enough money to provide for Harmni for a year, which would be about $350.
“Then the floodgates opened and we were packed with people, all day for two days of the event.”
The first day they made $1,000.
Nothing went to waste. They had enough money for Harmni for two years into the future and dispersed unsold clothes to homeless shelters in the area.
“This way the event has a global and local focus,” explains Logan, who is graduating this spring and will be attending law school to study human rights law.
The second annual Drop Off and Shop will be held on Wednesday, March 5 and Thursday, March 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Wallace McCain Student Centre Multipurpose Room. There will be boxes to drop off clothes in the residences and in the MASU office. To have clothes picked up, see their Facebook page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org