An Ohio State group that wants to help people in Tanzania, Nicaragua and Thailand brought pumpkins to the Oval for a fundraiser Wednesday.
The fundraiser aimed to raise money for service trips to Central America, Africa and Southeast Asia and to send supplies to communities.
“We figured most people on campus don’t have the means to go out and get a pumpkin and we figure everybody likes carving pumpkins,” said OSU Growth International Volunteer Excursions member Kevin Deye, a first-year in engineering.
GIVE is a Seattle-based organization dedicated to volunteer initiatives to help build critical resources in impoverished areas and learn about the cultures of Central America, Africa and Southeast Asia, according to the GIVE website.
As an extension of the GIVE organization, the OSU branch focuses primarily on volunteer efforts affecting communities in Nicaragua, Tanzania and Thailand, said OSU GIVE President Kelsey Stickley.
“It’s nice that we have a chapter here at OSU to help each other with fundraising,” said Caroline Speice, a second-year in accounting and member of GIVE.
The pumpkin event lasted from 1-4 p.m. and the group had a total of 50 pumpkins to sell. Pumpkins were donated to OSU GIVE by Witten Farm Market and Greenhouse, Circle S Farms, and Kuhlwein’s Farm Market and Deli, Stickley said.
Witten Farm Market and Greenhouse Columbus manager Ryan Langen said that it is typical for the market to set aside a specific amount of pumpkins to be donated each year.
“We did give them a donation. Once we reach that limit, we kind of stop and give nonprofit organizations a discount,” Langen said.
The pumpkins were sold for $7 each, Stickley said.
“Whoever signs up (to work the fundraiser) gets a fraction of what we make,” said Stickley, a fourth-year in human development and family science. “All of the fundraising goes toward people that want to go abroad.”
OSU GIVE members are dedicated to building a bridge in Thailand, establishing a well to supply fresh water in Tanzania and constructing a school in Nicaragua, Stickley said. Stickley traveled for two weeks of the summer after she raised the money to travel abroad through GIVE fundraising activities.
“It’s a really unique experience that you get immersed in a community. When I went to Nicaragua, I helped build a technical school. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Stickley said.
The school was built out of recycled bottles and cement, Deye said. Deye said he plans to travel to Nicaragua this summer and Tanzania during his second year at OSU.
“I think the school has been finished and now they’re focusing on teaching. So when I go, I will actually be sitting with the students and helping them learn English,” Deye said.
Stickley said it was a study abroad experience that influenced students to start a chapter at OSU two years ago.
“I went to Nicaragua and I was treated like I was their family forever. It was such a humbling experience. You go to these communities that tend to have nothing and give everything,” Stickley said.
The pumpkin fundraiser is one of many fundraisers the student organization plans to hold this year in its goal to fund the cost of traveling abroad. Fundraising initiatives are paid for by a yearly participation fee of $10 per member. Stickley said the student organization has between 25 to 30 members.
She said it’s the rewarding experiences abroad that influence people to want to join the organization to make a difference.
“Everyone’s determination and passion really make a difference,” Stickley said.
Adam Cupito, a first-year in forestry fisheries and wildlife and member of GIVE, said the OSU GIVE organization aligns with his goal to one day work at protecting the environment and helping others.
“Service has been a big part of my life. You’re helping the people there but you’re also helping ecotourism,” Cupito said.
In the future, Stickley said OSU GIVE aims to continue traveling, fundraising and working to build a relationship with the university as a whole in order to help gain support for the organization’s global volunteer efforts.
“OSU really pushes going abroad, but I really wanted to do that with a service focus,” Speice said.
Stickley said the organization hopes to better engage with the university so that OSU GIVE trips abroad might be recognized by OSU and even possibly provide students with academic credit.
OSU GIVE meets every other Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. in room 226 of the Enarson Classroom building.