Night of Nets raises funds for malaria prevention

September 28, 2010

Thursday night on campus was breezy, mild and bug-free – an advantage that was not lost on the 150 students participating in Night of Nets, an outdoor event to raise awareness and funds for the prevention of malaria.

“It’s absolutely perfect weather. We’re really pumped,” said co-organizer Mara Seibert ’13 of the Advocacy Team student club. “It’s so bizarre how here mosquitoes are just an annoyance, whereas somewhere else it can mean potential death.”

Co-organizer Bobby Baker ’11 models a stenciled T-shirt he designed to help raise funds to buy $6 malaria nets that stop the deadly disease.

Malaria is an often-deadly disease spread by mosquitoes that plagues sub-Saharan Africa, each year killing a million or more people, most of whom are children. But wide dissemination of insecticide-treated nets, which provide a protective covering for the body while releasing chemicals to repel and kill the infection-carrying mosquitoes, could conquer the problem by 2015, a United Nations goal.

Several student organizations, including the Advocacy Team, Outdoors Club, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Catholic Campus Ministry and Circle K, worked together to create a makeshift campground on the quad. Strings of festive lights illuminated the activities, which included volleyball, Frisbee, a DJ, art projects and tents for those who wanted to sleep outside. A documentary about efforts to prevent and treat malaria played throughout the evening on a big screen while 65 custom-stenciled T-shirts sold for $5.

The T-shirts were so popular, organizers had to make several runs to Wal-Mart for more supplies throughout the night.

Seibert estimated that the evening raised between $200 and $300, which she said will make a big difference, considering the malaria nets cost only about $6 a piece. The money will be donated to World Vision.

“How cool would it be to be able to say that our generation is the one that ended malaria?”

Marlene Vasquez ’12 is a member of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, one of the event’s sponsors.