Ramapo’s Building Tomorrow hosts fundraising event

Photo by Isaiah McCall

Charitable students representing the organization Building Tomorrow are emphasizing the importance of education by raising money to build schools for underprivileged children in East Africa.

Building Tomorrow, or BT, is a philanthropic organization that raises money to build new primary schools in East Africa. Ramapo students established a chapter at the college after they were inspired by the groups efforts there.

The Ramapo chapter officially started in 2014 and currently is the only chapter of BT in New Jersey according to current president of the chapter at Ramapo, Rena Krogulski.

Since its inception, students “tirelessly fundraise” for the group and have even raised enough money for Ramapo to establish their own classroom in Uganda in 2015, according to chapter adviser and Dean of Students, Melissa Van Der Wall. Van Der Wall also pointed out that many of the early fundraising efforts were thanks to Anthony Darakjy, who has since become their Student Trustee.

Krogulski elaborated on the importance of delivering a quality education to underprivileged students.

“Education is an important tool that can easily be undervalued here but is greatly appreciated in other parts of the world where education isn’t as accessible,” said Krogulski. “We’re here to gain awareness for the club while also hopefully finding students willing to donate for our cause.”

In the past, BT has hosted numerous fundraisers, including a promotion they ran last year through Chipotle that donated half of a buyer’s purchase to their cause. This year, however, BT ran a creatively thoughtful event called Give-A-S.E.A.T.

Give-A-S.E.A.T., which stands for Give a Student Educational Access Today, featured 58 seats flooded throughout the walkways adjacent to the Arch. Krogulski shed some light on the hidden significance of the chairs, stating, “The 58 seats represent the 58 million children who don’t have access to a primary education but should. We’ve never sold out all our chairs but are hoping to for the first time this year.”

Each seat recognized the individuals or organizations that donated $52 to sponsor a chair. The $52 being a representative of the average amount the US government spends for one day of a student’s education and also representing the same amount that the Ugandan government spends for one year of a student’s education.

The numbers in Sub-Saharan Africa are staggering enough on their own, as 31 million children there wake up every day without a school to attend, and only, “21 percent of students in Uganda complete a full cycle of primary school” according to BT’s website.

In an effort to gain more attention for their Give-A-S.E.A.T event, BT was also giving away free food and prizes at the event alongside WRPR, who provided music. Students slowly trickled into the event but as the weather continued to clear up more and more students garnered interest in the event.

While the Give-A-S.E.A.T. event looks to be the last event that BT will host at Ramapo College this year, the organization will continue to raise money through various fundraisers for underserved children in Uganda in the years to come. Van Der Wall expressed the pride that she felt about the work her students were doing.

“I’m so proud of the work that Rena and the rest of the students in BT have put in over the last three years,” said Van Der Wall. “As of this month Rena and her peers have raised enough money to establish a second Ramapo sponsored classroom in Uganda, and I know they’ll continue to do great things from there.”