By Emily Kelley
Latex gloves, bars of soap, medical tape, flashlights, washcloths, antifungal cream, gauze pads and petroleum jelly all have one thing in common: the ability to save a life.
On Feb. 28 in the Cavalla Room, students put together AIDS care packages and learned about social injustices around the globe.
The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship organization hosted the event, “Rider ACT:S,” to raise awareness of modern-day slavery. Students could try samples of fair-trade (socially and environmentally stable) products or hear the stories of young human-trafficking victims.
“As we surveyed the campus earlier in the month, we found that most students at Rider didn’t know what fair-trade was,” said InterVarsity staff member Jenna Garrison.
According to The World Fair Trade Organization, “Fair-trade is a trading partnership that seeks greater equity in international trade.”
Spoken-word poet Jonathan Walton opened the night with a message to the audience, encouraging students to “touch the other side of the world.”
“What I liked best about the event was the story about the girl who had been sold for sex exploitation and how he told her story through poetry,” said Grace Ogungbile, a freshman behavioral neuroscience major. “It gave the lesson more depth.”
Students then filled 200 drawstring bags with items that would be shipped to AIDS sufferers through World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization that fights the causes of poverty and injustice.
Some students walked away with a better understanding of the happenings in other countries.
“I learned exactly what fair-trade is and I am definitely more aware of child slavery throughout the world,” said Gabi Flamini, a freshman digital media major.
The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the event.
“You could tell people were happy to have made the kits and touch lives on the other side of the world,” Garrison said. “As Christians, these issues are important to us. We wanted to help students connect the physical and spiritual aspects of community service and justice, and also give them tools to be world-changers.”