Mars Café is usually a place for studying and relaxing. It’s quirky with an exposed ventilation pipe running through the restaurant and local art on display. Normally, the café is filled with students’ chatter, the whirs of blenders and orders called from the counter. Senior Abigail Koehler was studying like any other night but admitted that last Thursday night was special.
“I decided to stay longer because of this event,” Koehler said.
That night, a new noise filled Mars. Drake’s Brocal Chords, a male a cappella group, opened a benefit concert at 7 p.m. The nine students sang five songs, ending with “Fly Like an Eagle.” Before leaving, they stated how glad they were to help ONE.
The non-profit organization ONE hosted the concert at Mars, called the Clean Cause Concert. The purpose was to fundraise for clean water and sanitation improvements in developing countries, especially in Africa.
This project is not limited to Drake’s campus, however. Drake is only one chapter of the entire global organization. The clean cause campaign originated in the United Nations, as one of the group’s millennium development goals. Officials are hoping to complete this project by 2015. Its aim is to cut in half the proportion of the world’s population without access to sanitation.
In order to reach this goal, Drake’s ONE chapter had $2 raffle tickets for Starbucks and Gazali’s gift cards along with a T-shirt, silver metal water bottles for $5 and accepted donations. Donors were also given a free white water bottle with ONE stamped upon it. The a cappella group also handed out small information cards at the door, as well as free white wristbands emblazoned with ONE.
The cards explained that a five-minute shower here in the U.S. takes more water than what a person in a developing country’s slum would use in a day. On the back of the card, it said that every dollar a person invested toward water and sanitation had the effect of eight in that country. Therefore, with the help of another organization — water.org — a donor can provide someone in a developing country with a life supply of clean water for life for $25.
Yet this project is not ONE’s only goal. Junior Megan Berberich, the political liaison of ONE, also mentioned the organization’s phone project. Near the door was a box with a single slot in it. It was for old cell phones that people no longer used. ONE will give these phones to doctors, who will give them to their pregnant patients so that they could stay in contact as a woman’s due date grows near.
These two projects may seem unrelated, but the president of the chapter, senior Elsa Becker, explained it to the audience after Brocal Chords’s performance.
“Its (ONE’s) goal is to promote global health issues,” Becker said.
Though this chapter is only two years old, ONE is working steadily toward its goal.
“I think small actions really do make a difference,” Becker said.
The group previously worked with Oxfam America, an antipoverty organization, to hold a banquet on World AIDS day, which is Dec. 1. In April, there will be an event for Health Centers in Rwanda. It will be a walkathon in Drake Stadium. There will also be a band and possible businesses that will match ONE’s donations.
There are no requirements to join this organization.
“I joined because I’ve been to the Middle East, so I have a personal connection,” junior Paul Irwin said.
If you are interested in ONE, the group holds meetings every Sunday at 9 p.m. in the Pomerantz Conference Center.