First-year student brings ONE advocacy movement to campus

ONE at Lafayette, a new student group on campus initiated just last week, has plans to hit the ground running in fighting for both international and domestic policy changes. ONE is “a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than nine million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa,” according to its website.

The ONE chapter at Lafayette was founded by Ellie Aaberg ’21 and is part of a nonpartisan advocacy campaign taking action to influence US policies and also to engage in international philanthropy efforts. 

The campaign has a variety of initiatives, among which is ONE Campus, a subsection that reaches out to college students, using their voices to create change.

“When I met Gordon Wong, my friend’s cousin and Head of College Engagement of ONE in D.C., he suggested that I bring the idea to Lafayette. I then created a Facebook page and started talking to people about it,” Aaberg said.

Aaberg is currently the Campus Leader of ONE at Lafayette and Olivia Barney ’21 is the Vice Campus Leader of the group.

“I also have a couple of people that I’ve talked to who are interested to help. I think it’s going get a lot of footing here because it’s really young on campus,” Aaberg said.

In line with the nonpartisan nature of its parent campaign, ONE at Lafayette plans on recruiting members using a grassroots approach.

“That’s how I want to do it. I want to just spread the word out there, getting people fired up about advocacy, getting them to talk to their representative senators to bring about changes,” Aaberg said.

Although ONE is still growing and has yet to gain official approval from the student government, Aaberg said she thinks they have a lot of potential.

“That’s the next step, going to student council and proposing our club. We have all the resources because ONE Campus is very organized. We only need to call for support from the school and from students,” Aaberg said.

According to Aaberg, while ONE Campus offers limited funding, they would supply ONE at Lafayette with all the necessary merchandise like stickers and t-shirts for initial promotion.

“They could also sponsor events that we want to host on campus like for example, a movie night that highlights poverty,” Aaberg said.

At every level, ONE organizations look forward to delivering the messages that we are all “one.”

“For me, when I hear first heard of ONE and knew what they do, I thought of this idea: We have campuses everywhere all participating in the movement, like a broad world that all connect with each other as one group, sharing one goal,” Aaberg said.

ONE at Lafayette is simultaneously working on two campaigns: calling for globalized internet usage and protesting against President Donald Trump’s 30 percent cut in the International Aid Budget.

“The core campaign on internet usage is a declaration that we’re trying to get a million signatures on. The declaration demands that internet be accessible worldwide, so everyone can access and benefit from it. Internet usage can lead to more transparency with the government policies, encouraging people to use government resources, establish businesses or make use of educational tools,” Aaberg said.

“It’s just word of mouth right now, but I’m hoping to do a tabling in Farinon,” she added. 

As for the campain on the International Aid Budget, ONE has been contacting representatives telling them to not support President Trump’s decision to cut back on foreign aid, which will be finalized this week.

“From a moral standpoint, International Aid Budget is something the US should be engaged in to work against diseases and poverty internationally,” Aaberg said.

“Not only does the work benefit the people that we’re aiding, but it also benefits the image of our country: people are so used to the sight of American flags on soldiers instead of, for instance, a medical box or a new school–this is another side of the US that I want people to see,” she added.

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