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WUSC Recognizes Trent Community for Its Contributions

"The world is out there, it's waiting for you."

WUSCThis is the message Trent alumnus Paul Davidson, executive director of World University Service Canada (WUSC), brought to students at Trent University Tuesday as he encouraged them to get active and involved.

At the same time, Mr. Davidson recognized the Trent community for its contributions to the development work WUSC does overseas.

During his campus visit, Mr. Davidson took time to meet with student Adrian Samarasekare to personally thank him for his leadership in fundraising efforts following the devastating tsunami that struck Southeast Asia last winter.

"This money helped 500 people complete their education (in Sri Lanka). It's a huge contribution these students have made and these students are rising to the challenge again," he said referring to fundraising efforts underway for victims of the recent earthquake in Pakistan.

WUSC has been working in Sri Lanka for 15 years and has about 150 staff there. Following the tsunami, many of the staff took on the grim job of recovering bodies and transporting the injured, Mr. Davidson said.

However news of the fundraising underway in Canada gave a boost to the staff in the field, he added.  

"It was meaningful to them to know the students cared about what was happening in Sri Lanka."

Mr. Samarasekare, a fourth-year Business Administration student from Sri Lanka, has continued his fundraising work by founding a new organization at Trent called Helping Other People Everywhere (HOPE). Its mission is to host a variety of fundraisers to contribute to worthy causes around the world. HOPE will host a pub night at the Rooster on Saturday, November 12 to raise money for Pakistan earthquake relief.

While Mr. Davidson was a student at Trent, he was active in the local WUSC committee and in 1985 he participated in a student exchange to the University of Zimbabwe.

Now the executive director of WUSC, his organization is involved in a number of development projects in countries such as Viet Nam and Malawi. Most of WUSC's projects revolve around education, training and capacity building.

As part of his visit yesterday, Mr. Davidson also hosted an information session on the Trent/WUSC Summer Service-Learning Placement in Botswana Africa.

The placement was run as a pilot project through the Trent International Program (TIP) Office for the first time during summer 2005. Under WUSC's supervision, students spend six weeks with agencies doing development work in Botswana.

Two of the students who participated in the pilot program also attended the session and shared stories and photos of their time in Botswana.

The project will run again in summer 2006 and is expected to expand from four spaces to 10.

Mr. Davidson ended his day by speaking at this month's World Affairs Colloquium hosted by the Trent International Students' Association in conjunction with Trent's WUSC committee and the Trent Central Students' Association.

In his talk titled Pop Culture, Politics and Development, Mr. Davidson explored the intersection of popular culture and development, focusing primarily on the ethics of pop star development and the effectiveness of partnerships between these two camps.

WUSC is active on 50 campuses across Canada and has 8,000 alumni.

Photo: President Bonnie Patterson, student Adrian Samarasekare, Paul Davidson, executive director of WUSC and students Salma Yarjani and Neal Sylvester.

Posted October 20, 2005


































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Last Updated November 4, 2005