How I found my passion: Bracelet of Hope

Friday, September 3, 2010

  • The Bracelet of Hope Campaign sold red and white bracelets for $5 with part of the money going towards an HIV/AIDS clinic in Le

    The Bracelet of Hope Campaign sold red and white bracelets for $5 with part of the money going towards an HIV/AIDS clinic in Le

Now that you are here at University of Guelph, the questions you ask yourself will start to change. You will begin to meet people from places you have previously never heard of and be challenged with perspectives that had never crossed your mind.

More importantly, you will be given opportunities. Opportunities to discover and define yourself and opportunities to make a real impact on the world. One thing the University of Guelph is renowned for is our campus community of students who care about issues beyond themselves, who find meaning by giving energy to causes that are positively transformative both locally and abroad.

If you follow your passions and they will guide you on a grand journey that is not only impactful for you but to all those who’s lives you change.

I want to take some time to talk about one of my passions, one that started for me in my first year of University and has since shaped me into the person I am today. During September of my first semester I went and heard Dr. Anne Marie Zajdlik speak about her campaign called the Bracelet of Hope campaign. It was designed to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and money to help support HIV/AIDS relief in the country of Lesotho (located in the middle of South Africa). They sold red and white bracelets for $5 with part of the money going towards the Lesotho AIDS relief and the other portion going to a woman’s cooperative in South Africa that made the bracelets.

AIDS has had a personal impact on me as I lost two of my uncles at a young age from the disease and I was eager to get involved to help stop others from facing the loss that I had suffered. In the course of a year, we raised $100,000 for the campaign on campus, a huge achievement.

The campaign transformed the campus and the red and white bracelets began to symbolize more then just hope to eradicate AIDS. Over time the bracelets began to symbolize a hope for a brighter future and became a symbol of the University of Guelph. When you saw someone with the bracelet you knew that they were passionate about making the world better and work working towards it.

This year we are bringing the campaign back to campus and so you will see a lot of these bracelets around campus. Dr. Zajdlik, whose talk started me on this journey, is returning again to campus to speak at this year’s World Record Challenge during Orientation Week. I encourage all of you to come and check it out (and wear red or white). We will also have a booth out at the Student Involvement Fair  so come by and say hello and learn about the campaign and other great opportunities to get involved on campus.

This has been one of my passions, and now you are about to go out and find yours, whether it is HIV/AIDS, climate change or poverty what ever issue gets you fired up inside there is an opportunity to create change around this issue on campus. The journey will challenge you and shape you and at the end you will feel deeply rewarded for your efforts, I know I do. Who knows, maybe three years down the road you will be writing an article to new students about your passion.

Welcome to the community of the University of Guelph.

Derek Alton is the co-ordinator for the Bracelet of Hope - University of Guelph Chapter. The World Record Challenge takes place on Monday, September 6 at 11 a.m. on Johnston Green. The Student Involvement Fair takes place on Wednesday, September 8th from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the University Centre.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question

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