Students Promote Change Through Social Media

Ramya Rao, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Forget bake sales and raffles – Ward Melville students are promoting a cause that’s important to them through a unique and surprisingly effective manner. This February, students are working on two fronts for charity. They’re raising hundreds of dollars through fundraising, while raising awareness of the cause to hundreds of people through social media. These actions are on behalf of the Eliminate Project, an organization seeking to reduce the incidence of the prevalent maternal and neonatal tetanus diseases through increased awareness and donations. A Facebook campaign illustrating the importance of this cause has transcended state borders with dozens of shares and hundreds of likes, bringing awareness of this project to people across the country.

Almost 60,000 newborns and many of their mothers die annually because of maternal and neonatal tetanus due to poor access to health care and insufficient immunization services.  The simple solution  to this problem is a tetanus vaccine which can be provided to a mother for the cost of $1.80. For one dollar and eighty cents, the lives of a mother and her children can be saved.

Kyra Durko, vice-president of Key Club, a student-run organization, knew that she wanted to have as many students engaged in supporting this project as possible. She also wanted to put money behind the club’s support in order to provide monetary assistance for the Eliminate Project, and produce tangible results. From these two goals came the idea to link a possible donation to the liking and sharing of a Facebook photo. She soon announced that if a certain picture expressing the Eliminate Project’s goals gains 1000 likes, $750 would be donated to this cause.

Her decision to raise awareness through social media earned the attention of hundreds of people who eagerly liked the photo and expressed support for the cause.

Junior Anthony Muscarella designed the picture depicting the Eliminate project. “I wasn’t really aware of how big of a project it as at first,” he said. “The type of disease at hand isn’t something a lot of people know about, and I think spreading awareness will really help.”

“We are already passing the 60% mark and it’s been less than three weeks,” commented Kyra. “We’re almost there.”

The $750 itself to be donated once the photo reaches the 1000 like mark is going to be raised in a manner nothing short of ingenious. After raising awareness among the student body through the Facebook campaign, Key Club began to conduct a pen sale, with the proceeds going to the Elimination Project. Key clubbers are pledging to each sell ten pens throughout the school.

This campaign was well-thought out, attracting attention on a platform students frequented while simultaneously raising money through the sales of pens. The way the school has rallied together to support this cause truly demonstrates the unity of students in the face of challenges, whether they be in Ward Melville or in another country.