Alongside familiar senior class gifts to expand the library’s book collection or to purchase an ornamental statue for campus, paying to train and send slavery abolitionists to Africa to help secure the release of indentured child workers might be considered unconventional or even bold.
In fact, it was meant as a kind of billboard of USF’s values, said USF Assistant Director of Annual and Special Giving Christopher Anderson ’06, who came up with the idea of a senior gift scholarship intended to pay for a few highly qualified but fiscally limited underclassmen to experience how much of the world lives by spending time in a developing country.
“The idea was to provide current students with the opportunity to fund scholarships and give back to students following in their foot- steps,” said Anderson, who developed the idea in consultation with the scholarship’s inaugural 2008 senior class, University Ministry, and the Not For Sale Campaign, the nonprofit chosen to coordinate the scholarship winners’ training and travel.
Seniors rallied behind the idea, donating about $10,000, the most ever contributed as a senior gift. The money paid for the training and travel of two USF students to conduct research on human trafficking and work as abolitionists during the summer of 2009, Anderson said.
It was so successful, the scholarship is under- way again this year.
“This is all amazing!” wrote sociology major Christina Hebets ’08 in an e-mail during her two-week trip to a region near Lake Volta in Ghana last July. “We spent a week in Kete-Krachi and rescued five children who all came back down to Tema with us.”
Senior Hannah Mora was the other recipient of the 2008 senior class gift scholarship. “Reading the cases of these people allowed me to look into personal stories and recognize the traumatic effects that the global slave trade has on these women and children,” said Mora, who was in northern Uganda where decades of civil war have led to children being used as soldiers.