MNU news

MNU Students Raise $65K for New School in Haiti

Second Time Students Raise More Than $60K for Others

By Carol Best
May 8, 2014

“This school [MNU] is unbelievable,” said Gary Morsch, MD, founder of Heart to Heart International, as he and Steve Weber, executive director for Haiti Operations, accepted a $50,000 check from MNU students toward the building of a school in Cascade Pichon, Haiti. The area has never had a school and MNU students who traveled there on a mission trip last year spent this school year raising money to help Heart to Heart on the $250,000 project. The check was presented at MNU’s final chapel service of the 2013-14 academic year April 29, 2014.

“I travel to a lot of universities,” Morsch said. “None of them have ever done what you have done.”

Weber reported more exciting news to the MNU community when he shared that Google, having heard about the project, decided to donate state-of-the-art tablets and other technology to use in the school. Weber stated this is due to the “ripple effect” of MNU’s efforts among others.

“Because of this we’ve got a school in Haiti,” he added.

The student-driven project, called, Dégagé, utilized a dozen different fundraising methods. Students worked as servers at MNU’s annual Gala and donated their earnings to Dégagé. A campus-wide coin drive and option to round up one’s bill for purchases in the university store were easy ways to bring in funds. Individuals used social media to promote the project and $2 Tuesdays (offerings taken during Tuesday chapel services) were other ways students helped. Through partnerships with major events on campus, students got significant help raising money. MidAmerica Extreme (MAX) participants, largely high school students from the Midwest who come to MNU for two days of athletic, academic and fine arts competitions, gave more than $7,000. MNU’s Board of Trustees agreed to match the MAX participants’ gifts. St. Joseph Christian High School contributed $2400, and pledges are still arriving. The total raised in pledges to date is $66,400.

“The impact of this project will go on long after you’ve left this place,” Morsch told the MNU students.

MNU Chaplain and Vice President for Community Formation, Randy Beckum, PhD, said this is the second time MNU students have raised more than $60,000 for a project for underserved people in another country. Referring to the university’s yearly Passion to Serve project, Beckum cited the 2010 effort to raise funds for a health clinic in Patanatic, Guatemala.

“This is the big idea of MNU,” Beckum said. “Service to others, giving to those who have so little, students helping others.”

Beckum said the university’s emphasis on mission trips is part of what spurs the interest of students to help those in underdeveloped countries. Ninety-one students went on mission trips in the academic year just completed. That number represents another $200,000 that students raised to fund those trips. Over the last five years at least $1 million has been raised by students for mission trips, he said.

“Additionally, Passion to Serve projects have raised more than $170,000 in the last five years,” Beckum added. “There’s a village in Guatemala that didn’t have a clinic--now they do, and there’s a village in the most remote part of Haiti that never had a school and now it will.”

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