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Clarkson Fraternity Raises Money For School Supplies To Support Children In Ethiopia

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at]

Clarkson University’s Zeta Nu fraternity recently raised money to purchase school supplies to send half a world away to schoolchildren in the impoverished city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

The fraternity created the outreach program, with assistance from the Potsdam P&C, after learning about the needs of the young schoolchildren through Clarkson alumna Mahkeddah Thompson. zetanu2004

After graduating from Clarkson two years ago with an interdisciplinary engineering and management degree, Thompson decided to forego the corporate route, at least for awhile, in favor of following her heart. This led her to travel to Ethiopia to work as an elementary school teacher.

 “Mahkeddah and I have kept in touch and she wrote me about her experiences and mentioned how poor the children and schools are – no supplies, no books,” said Stephanie Lee, advisor and mentoring program coordinator for Clarkson’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). “I was talking to some of the Clarkson students about Mahkeddah and the schoolchildren and immediately one of the students, Otis Simon, suggested raising money and supplies through his fraternity.”

Simon, a junior from Brooklyn, N.Y., shared his idea with brothers at Zeta Nu. “As a fraternity, we are always looking for creative ways to support worthwhile causes – whether local, national or international, as in this case,” he explained. “We thought it would be a great idea because we could positively affect the lives of people we will probably never meet. Even though these children are thousands of miles away we can actually make a difference.”

The students contacted the managers at the Potsdam P&C shopping center, who agreed to allot space for them to raise money over a five-day period. Nearly $150 was collected to purchase paper, workbooks, crayons, glue sticks, and “lots of pencils.” The Clarkson organization, Multicultural Students United, generously paid the substantial shipping costs.

In Bahir Dar, Thompson waits to receive the shipment, which is scheduled to arrive in four-to-six weeks. “I don’t know how to thank the students and Stephanie Lee for all they have done,” she wrote in an e-mail. “We are very thankful for anything here in Bahir Dar. Supplies and paper are scarce and quite precious over here. This will help us so much.”

Clarkson University fraternities and sororities must meet high standards of academic performance, conduct and community service. Founded in 1956, Zeta Nu is a social fraternity with 27 active members.

PHOTO CAPTIONMembers of Clarkson’s Zeta Nu fraternity pack up school books, paper, pencils and other supplies to send to an impoverished school in Ethiopia. The students raised money and purchased the school supplies to send to the Ethiopian children and to support Clarkson alumna Mahkeddah Thompson ’02 who is a teacher at the Bahir Dar school. (L-R) Clarkson junior David Donahue, senior Clifford Parsons, and junior Gabriel Lewit.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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