George Washington University Students Sweep Contest for Individual and Group Campaigns

After months of creative fundraising efforts and hard work to raise awareness of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), George Washington University students came in first place for both the individual and group campaigns for the Global Network’s signature grassroots initiative, the Just 50 Cents Campus Challenge. The Campus Challenge is a contest which provides an opportunity for full-time undergraduate and graduate college students to become Student Ambassadors in the fight to prevent and eliminate the world’s most common NTDs. The contest, which involved 21 university individual and group campaigns was launched on November 2, 2009 and ended on April 2, 2010. The total amount raised by all the student campaigns was $12,195.

The group campaign winner is a team of students at George Washington University’s Medical School that raised $3,983. Led by second year medical student Emily Cotter, the group hosted many fundraisers including Happy Hours, bake sales, and “Wormy Grams” for Valentine’s Day. The winner of the individual campaign, Manuel Claros, is a student at the George Washington University School of Public Health. Claros raised $1,256 by starting a Facebook group to promote his campaign and collecting coins off the street. He also convinced friends to donate by hosting dinners in his home and educating them about NTDs.

The group campaign winner from GWU Medical School will receive a matching donation from Global Network founding ambassador and actress Alyssa Milano; Manuel Claros will win a four week paid internship with the Global Network in Washington, D.C, and the opportunity to share the experience on www.endtheneglect.org, the Global Network blog.

Of the 21 universities involved, other top fundraisers included a student group from the London School of Hygiene and London School of Economics that raised $2,358, a group at Harvard University that raised $2,196, and a group at California Northstate College of Pharmacy that raised $993.

“I am truly inspired by the dedication and ingenuity of all the students involved in this grassroots initiative. This is the generation that has the opportunity to make real and lasting impact by raising the profile of NTDs and ending the neglect. What the winners of the Campus Challenge have accomplished is inspiring and I can’t wait to see what the next grassroots campaign looks like!” said Dr. Peter Hotez, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

About NTDs
NTDs are a group of 13 parasitic and bacterial infections that are the most common afflictions of the world’s poorest people They blind, disable, disfigure and stigmatize their victims, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and disease. Research shows that treating NTDs lifts millions out of poverty by ensuring that children stay in school to learn and prosper; by strengthening worker productivity; and by improving maternal and child health.

About The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, a major initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, is an advocacy and resource mobilization initiative dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the seven most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs): trachoma, soil-transmitted helminths (hookworm, ascariasis, trichuriasis), onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis. www.globalnetwork.org

About The Sabin Vaccine Institute
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing human suffering from infectious and neglected diseases. Through its efforts in vaccine research, development and advocacy, Sabin works to provide greater access to vaccines and essential medicines for millions stuck in pain, poverty and despair. For more information about Sabin’s research and commitment, visit: www.sabin.org.

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