WSU students raise funds to serve

WSU students are traveling to Thailand to help children in an orphanage like this one. (Photo: Madelon Wijnbergen)
WSU students are traveling to Thailand to help children in an orphanage like this one. (Photo: Madelon Wijnbergen)

Weber State University students held a fundraiser Thursday to help finance a service trip to Thailand in May.

Eight of the 26 students and alumni planning to make the trip next month sold homemade cookies, candy and soda in the Union Building.

The opportunity to bring some variety into their lunches made some of the bystanders visibly happy. One of them was Mollie Hatch, a nursing student who bought a piece of fudge and a sucker from the booth.

“It’s really my first time hearing about this project, but I like that they will be building a kitchen for an orphanage,” Hatch said, adding that aside from liking the good cause, she also enjoyed the variety of goodies offered.

Before most items were sold, the three large sale tables were completely covered in candy, leaving not a square-inch of open space. Despite the rather low prices, enough was sold to give some of the participants decent amounts of money in return.

“I can’t talk about everyone else, but I personally made $125,” said Nathan Hole, a geography major. Hole paid most of the $3000 required to go on the trip out of his own pocket and said he received some help from family, friends and others who donated to his cause.

“My main reason for taking this trip is really to help people,” Hole said. “It will be a good way for me to get out of my comfort zone.”

Most of the other fundraiser participants agreed with Hole.

“It’s been a life-long dream (of mine) to help people and to go on a humanitarian trip,” Melissa Eisert said.

Eisert said the money raised on Thursday would go towards paying for utensils needed to complete the projects in Thailand, and added that around $300 would be required from every student to pay for tools and other construction materials.

The volunteers plan to build a dining hall, kitchen and water reservoir for an orphanage.

“Our goal is to improve the life quality there,” Eisert said.

With all the volunteer work in mind, the four-week trip will also feature unique experiences and foster understanding of local Thai culture. According to the project website, excursions include bareback elephant riding and a Thai food cooking class.

Although none of the participants at the fundraiser planned on taking regular classes during the upcoming summer semester, the trip will count for nine academic credits. Ultimately, this leaves the total cost of the trip just barely above the expense of earning those same credits on campus at WSU.