SHPE UPRM “Tricortea” in the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF!

By: Camila D. González Sotomayor

Halloween has always been one of the most exciting and fun days of the year. Everyone goes crazy buying things for home decoration, Halloween costumes for trick-or-treating on the streets and candies to share with little kids. Most of the parties between young people occur during this week. Also, it’s cool to expect a lot of fun during this activity but the truth is that while we are sharing and having a good time with friends and family, a lot of poor children over the world are suffering of hunger and diseases.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is clear and aware of this problem. This non-lucrative entity focuses on providing health, immunization, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene and education in countries that are in need. Over 21,000 children die each year and it doesn’t have to be this way (UNICEF Official Page).

Trying to solve this problem, more than 30 years ago UNICEF decided to try something new, attractive and effective. This sad situation sparked the creation of something funny and special, the “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.” This creative activity is about kids helping kids; children (or people a little far from being kids) are searching for candy among the houses, while also collecting money for kids in other countries who need their help.

After the money is collected in the orange little box that UNICEF designed for this event, they send it to the organization. How is all this information related with our campus? Simple, the UNICEF chapter of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) decided to trick-or-treat at the University.

During the week of October 24-28, 2011, the student’s organizations and fraternities like The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Phi Beta Lambda and National Society of Professional Engineers join this lovely cause with the UNICEF UPRM chapter. During this period, all these groups organized teams to collect money for the entity and sell UNICEF t-shirts to students. On October 27, 2011, The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) joined this cause fundraising during the Universal Hour.

Creativity and dynamism are the perfect words to describe the hard work of the members of the SHPE UPRM team. During the week, they had meetings to organize and design the logistics for the activity. They decided to have a team of people walking through the Students Center and the Industrial Engineering building collecting money for the cause. This team had a table in front of “Las Peceras” with information about UNICEF, little boxes where students deposit their monetary donations, roulette where people had the chance to win prizes, sweepstakes, food and of course, candies were there too!

The Student Center was full of people because there was a craft fair; all the organizations that were part of the UNICEF team were there collecting money for the cause. At the moment of the interview, one of the activity’s coordinators, Anned Vargas, said that, “The Trick-or-Treat has been a great experience; it’s amazing to find people that actually care and do everything they can, even if it’s just decorating a table to raise money, to help these children.”Lauren Cuevas, who was member of the SHPE “tricortea” team said, “we need more of these activities; we have to help more people in need.  All of us have the resources, so why not?”

Another member of the team, Alejandro Vigo, said “it was a nice experience! I’m excited about the next Trick-or-Treat. This activity was a strong reason for me to cooperate because I understand that all of us have to do our best to improve this World.” Another of the coordinators, Gilberto Castro said that, “it seems to me unfair that while we enjoy a high living standard, low-cost education, many job opportunities, other people in nearby places don’t even have electricity or running water.”

The Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF was a nice experience for all of us who collaborate on it. One of the best ways to cooperate with these causes is donating. If we can’t be there helping at the center of the problem, we can help with just $1. Helping others is therapy for the heart; today it’s for them, tomorrow it could be for us.

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