RU Reforesting Club raises money for Tanzania trip

From - RU students and faculty in Tanzania, May 2013. SUST majors Nicole Burns (BA ’13) and Josh CampbSamantha Reid

The newly formed RU Reforesting Club hopes to help send students to Tanzania soon. Biology professor Nobby Cordeiro started the program, which is raising money to send 15 of Roosevelt University’s science students to Tanzania this summer to volunteer.
“Our mission is to limit the amount of deforestation that is going on in Tanzania by working together with local communities in order to alleviate environmental problems in part by reforesting abandoned agricultural land,” said junior Olivia Downs, a member of the new club.
According to the club’s mission statement, Tanzania has lost so much land to deforestation that it equates to losing about 15 football fields daily for 15 years.
“We will be going to Tanzania for two weeks to do fieldwork,” junior Maggie Dobek said. “Mostly, we will be working with members of the community to plant seedlings.”
Those 10,000 seedlings will, the group hopes, help to reverse the damage that deforestation has had on the area. This will also give these students, who are all enrolled in BIO 369-469, the opportunity to do hands-on applications of the experiments they do in class.
But for RU Reforesting students, this trip is about more than just travel or education. It is about helping the people and animals being affected by the mass deforestation.
“It is really a great thing to know you are helping someone out,” Downs said. “I don’t think any of us [students] realize how badly we are affecting the animals in these areas.”
Students are already looking ahead to how this volunteer work will enrich their lives. The two weeks they spend working in Tanzania will give the students experience in the area they work in.
“The people of Tanzania depend on the forest for survival,” Dobek said. “I’ve always wanted to travel, but I also want to make a difference in the world, and this trip is going to allow me to do both of those things.”
RU Reforesting is taking the study abroad program beyond personal fulfillment by adding the service component. The group is currently fundraising to help alleviate the high costs that come with international travel.
Cordeiro’s students are determined to get to Tanzania and help any way they can.
“I just want students to know we are not just going to plant some trees,” Dobek said. “We’re going and changing the lives of the people living there.”
Students who want to assist in this mission from Chicago can participate in any of the upcoming fundraising events the group has planned. The club is working on events with local restaurants as well as a possible three-on-three basketball tournament later this semester.

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