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By Molly Sammon – Perth, Australia

| Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In close conjunction with Notre Dame’s dedication to service, charity projects at the University of Western Australia (UWA) are equally popular. Though it’s a secular institution, they hosted one of the largest and most enjoyable service opportunities I have ever been a part of.

Prosh is an annual event at UWA when students put together a satirical newspaper, poking fun at trends on campus, Australian pop culture and news events. Then students who wish to participate go out into the city and sell them to residents of Perth for cash donation.

It’s a highly publicized event in the city. This year marked the 80th year of the festival and paper publication.

On Prosh eve, we took a nap for about three hours so we could wake up at midnight to start preparing.

People dressed up in goofy costumes to attract attention toward the paper sales and I went as a magic eight ball, wearing a dress made completely out of a black garbage bag and tightly wound electrical tape.

It made breathing a sport.

At 3 a.m., the students met on campus to hand out the papers to sell. On one of the main quads at UWA, they held a morning rave, complete with disco lights, techno music and views of the sunrise over the river.

As the day began, we loaded onto buses and headed out to different parts of the greater Perth area to sell the papers.

I paired up with my Austrian exchange friend, Birgit, who was painted head to toe in blue and green paint. We perched ourselves near a group of schools, where parents who were dropping their children off for the day were willing to buy a copy.

In the middle of a three-lane highway, we danced around like idiots in our costumes, completely sleep deprived, and asked for money for various Australian charities, such as the Australian Youth Focus for the prevention of suicide and depression and Foodbank Australia.

After the event ended, we returned to our dorms just after breakfast ended, exhausted from the night of costumes and collecting. Luckily, classes were cancelled that next morning in honor of UWA’s 80th annual Prosh and I was able to sleep for 10 hours to rejuvenate myself after the crazy night.