UNICEF Brock brought the Valentine’s Day spirit to campus with their annual roses event on Feb. 12 and 13, providing last minute assistance to all of the romantics out there.
After successfully selling out of 500 roses last year, UNICEF Brock increased the number this year to 750 and pulled in $1,100.30 over the span of two days. The proceeds of the event will be divided evenly between UNICEF Canada and local charitable organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Catharines.
“These are more than just global issues, but local issues as well,” said Saumik Biswas, a fourth-year Medical Sciences student and co-founder of UNICEF Brock. “Poverty and social problems are everywhere and we wanted to do whatever we could to help.”
Biswas’ personal engagement with UNICEF began after he visited his home country of Bangladesh and witnessed first hand the drastic differences around the world economy. The experience prompted him to become the change that he wished to see in the world, and alongside fellow Brock student Zeryab Khan, the pair started UNICEF Brock.
“My eyes were opened up in a way I didn’t know was possible,” said Biswas. “I could see poverty right in the airport. A woman was begging people who just got off the plane for enough spare change to survive. I felt helpless and that sparked in me a desire to help.”
UNICEF Brock boasts over 80 members, a far cry from the 15 that they had in their first year, focusing their efforts on local initiatives and awareness campaigns across campus. They can be credited for hosting and organizing events such as the masquerade ball, dodgeball tournaments, raffles and the Drake Night dance that took place in Isaac’s last semester, with all proceeds going to either UNICEF or local charitable organizations in the Niagara Region.
“We have a great mix of students and I see it play a huge educational role,” said Biswas. “It helps you gain knowledge about the world around you. It provides students with the resources of global awareness and social action.”
As many charitable organizations often do, UNICEF has come under fire with accusations that their management team and CEO’s misuse finances and are paid more than they should be, in comparison with those doing the actual footwork for the organization. Biswas understands the issue, but defends the company because that’s the way this business works.
“You need people to help sustain this project and to keep people able to help others. UNICEF vaccinates 40 per cent of the world’s children and medicine, medical equipment and facilities aren’t cheap. It is a reputable group, but we need the funds to purchase the resources to bring aid to those who need it,” said Biswas. “UNICEF wouldn’t be UNICEF without all of the support from the students, Brock staff and our dedicated team of executives.”
UNICEF Brock will be holding more events in the coming months, so keep your eyes on social media and poster boards around campus. If you think you are one of these socially aware, dedicated individuals who want to make a difference in the community or the world, become a member of UNICEF Brock today by checking them out on facebook.com/unicefbrock or @UNICEFBrock on Twitter.