On Sunday, April 15 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. West Chester University’s Honors Student Association hosted the 13th annual Aid to South Africa (A2SA) carnival in Hollinger Field House. A capella groups Under A Rest and High Street Harmonix performed throughout the day in addition to the Irish and Swing Dance Teams.
Volunteering students ran individual stations encompassing an array of carnival-like amusements, including frisbee-tic-tac-toe, balloon animal-making and rubber duckie bobbing. Cookies, donuts, burgers and hot dogs were available in exchange for an optional monetary donation.
In the center of the fieldhouse stood a replica of the average South African home for low income inhabits. Planks of wood and a blue tarp roof constituted the house’s infrastructure.
Aid to South Africa Director Claire McCreavy had much to say about the event. McCreavy, a junior Public Health major, has been involved in running A2SA since she assumed the position of Fundraising Chair in her first year. This past Sunday marks her second year coordinating the event. Concerning the rainy weather conditions, McCreavy responded, “We really had to adapt to move things inside. In these 13 years, this is the second time we’ve been rained out.”
Regardless of the weather conditions, McCreavy expressed satisfaction with the event’s outcome, saying, “The layout was beautiful, [I’m] super happy with it.” Her advice for the incoming executive group entails, “Keep on telling the community about it.” She stated she has made an effort to visit Rotary Clubs to give presentations about the Aid to South Africa cause.
In her opinion, reaching out to community organizations is critical to “[changing] the stereotypes about college students.” McCreavy said her involvement with the organization will continue next year, stating, “I’ll be there every step of the way. I’m not just leaving this after today.”
When Dr. Kevin Dean, faculty advisor for the Honors Student Association, was asked how he compares this year’s event to last year’s, he said, “The similarity [is] the unbelievable enthusiasm of all of the people who are involved with this. When I arrived today, from Princeton, everything was [already] set up. The room was swarming with volunteers. Everyone was so excited and pumped to be able to do this event.”
When asked about what he thinks went well with A2SA, Dean said, “We had an amazing highlight with the Phillie Phanatic showing up for the first hour,” adding that WCU’s Rammy got a picture alongside the sports mascot. He continued to say, “The excitement is always being able to watch and see the students who are involved. Because we are sending a group of students to South Africa this summer, and a number of them are [first years], for them to come back with their experience and apply that…that always [inspires] a new motivation to come back and want to do more.”
Looking forward to next year’s A2SA carnival, Dean stated, “We are really fortunate that Claire is going to be a senior next year…What that means is that she will be in a mentoring position to help the new group of people coming in.”
First-year English education student Michael Nangle spoke about the event and his upcoming journey across the world. “It’s really an awesome event, getting to see people from all over campus coming together for such a great cause,” Nangle said.
Nangle continued, “In a few months, 30 other students and I will have the opportunity to travel to South Africa and work with the beneficiaries of the carnival. Being able to meet these people in person is sure to be a life-changing experience!”
According to West Chester University’s website, “The Aid to South Africa Carnival brings together the community for a fun event while raising awareness through informative exhibits. Many families attend to simply enjoy the free community fair. All ages are invited to attend, including children, students and adults.”
Their mission is to, “reduce hunger, provide comfort to AIDS victims, and raise awareness,” according to the Honors College website. The proceeds raised from the Aid to South Africa fair helps the following institutions: H.E.L.P. Ministries soup kitchen, Sparrow Village, Nkosi’s Haven, and Mosaic.
The official website for H.E.L.P. Ministries International Trust informs readers of the Soup Kitchen project responsibilities, including “feeding the 5000 primary school children and 1000 unemployed adults on a daily basis with soup and bread.” The website details the need for funds, especially during Cape Town’s winter rainy season.
Domenica Castro is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in Spanish. ✉ DC874612@wcupa.edu.
Max James is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in creative writing and web technology. ✉ MJ853459@wcupa.edu.