Students Against Malaria at Thiel College

Allison Beebe

Students at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania are working hard on campus to make malaria history. The students received a grant to kick-start malaria programming on their campus, and have been busy raising awareness and funds among students and staff.

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In the fall, the students of the Dietrich Honors Institute, in conjunction with Thiel College Campus Ministry, put on a 5K fun run/walk during Homecoming week. The proceeds from this benefit race totaled $1200! Participants from the college and from the community walked and ran against malaria on October 12, 2013. The Dietrich Honors Institute values service as well as academic achievement, so the students selected the ELCA Malaria Campaign as one of their service projects to focus on for this academic year.

Thiel's Homecoming theme was "Proud of our past, building for the future," and this theme fits quite nicely with the objectives of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. We're proud of the progress we have made with our Lutheran companions in Africa. The rates of death are slowing worldwide. Where just a few years ago a child died of malaria every 45 seconds, we now see a rate of once every 60 seconds. Malaria programs have taught people about symptoms and treatment. Clinics have been strengthened. Nets have been distributed. Communities are changing and lives have been saved.  So much progress has been made. Still, we are building for the future. Children and adults alike are being educated so future generations won't suffer. Medication is made available to children can live and thrive.  Volunteers are being trained to take anti-malaria messages into their communities. New countries are being added to the list of places where the ELCA Malaria campaign supports the programming of our Lutheran partners in Africa. We are building towards a malaria-free future!

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On January 28, 2014 students who were involved with Thiel's 5K enthusiastically presented a check to ELCA Malaria Campaign staff. This is an impressive group of young adults who are passionate, ambitious and fun. They gathered for a presentation on the malaria campaign, enjoyed some refreshments and engaged in a lively discussion about what they can do next. They even heard from two students from Pakistan who had been sick with malaria as children, which really brought the hardships of the disease close to home. They mentioned that malaria was once very problematic in Pakistan, but thanks to efforts by the government and non-governmental organizations, now there are very few cases. This testimony inspired everyone that, with a concentrated effort, we can contribute to a reduction of malaria in our world.  

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Thanks to the students and staff of Thiel College who helped to make this event a success! We look forward to hearing about some other creative and inspiring events on campus in the upcoming months!