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Leaders address global health

Joe Piarulli | Thursday, November 9, 2006

When over 50 representatives from academic, athletic, cultural, media and service clubs come together, it’s not just any old Wednesday night on campus.Senior co-organizers Amanda Golbabai and Bryan Hambley called a variety of student leaders together to get the ball rolling on plans to respond to the global health crisis.The issue of the global health crisis was the subject of the Notre Dame Forum this year and the question of what the student body can do was the subject of Wednesday night’s 10 p.m. meeting in the Notre Dame Room of the LaFortune Student Center.”If we all work together we’re going to come up with something great,” Golbabai said.Golbabai and Hambley put forth several goals in a handout to attendees, namely “to have a series of events and initiatives in response to the global health crisis that all student organizations would sponsor together.”The student representatives present at the meeting do not constitute a formal organization. No name has been given to the collection of leaders participating in the health crisis response and a separate bank account for funds raised for the response will not be created, in accordance with student activity rules.The events and initiatives of the response will cover five areas: faith, curriculum, student education, political action and fundraising. In terms of fundraising, organizers said money would go toward building a medical clinic for the Notre Dame-sponsored Millennium Village in Uganda. The figure of $10,000 was mentioned as a starting goal, though the cost of the medical clinic is expected to be higher.Fundraising ideas included co-sponsorship of events ranging from benefit concerts to special athletic activities. Faith initiatives, led by senior Andy Laughton, are expected to include Theology on Tap relating to the global health crisis and a campus mass at the Basilica.Senior Teresa Hagen said there is a possibility of developing a global health minor in the Notre Dame curriculum, which might fall under the College of Arts and Letters. Similar programs are currently in existence at Northwestern and Emory.Politically, organizers expressed interest in working with residence halls to write letters to congressmen or senators on the health crisis. In a similar vein, organizers said they hope to have letters published in local newspapers encouraging community members to get involved.Golbabai and Hambley said similar meetings would continue on Wednesday nights for the rest of the semester and that student leaders are encouraged to attend as their schedules allow.”The turnout was fantastic,” Golbabai said. “I assure you, there’s a place for everybody to get involved.” Student organizations were told they could contribute in several different ways, from planning different events to co-sponsoring and making small donations to sending leaders or representatives to help accomplish collective goals.