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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for Truth: Making a difference, Will you go live?

Published: February 13, 2009
Section: Opinions

A few weeks ago, a group of very diverse Brandeis students squeezed into a room in the second floor of Shapiro Campus Center. It was a Sunday night around 7 p.m. and we all sat around the tightly filled table, snacking on pizza and chatting as we waited.

We were all there for one reason; and no, it wasn’t a party. We were all excited to officially launch a project we’d been working on for months.

What if I told you we were gathered because we all have a plan to end global poverty?

“Yeah, yeah, Brandeis students always have some kind of a plan,” you’d probably say.

Or perhaps you might say “Now how in the world are you going to do that?” And I wouldn’t blame you, either, because I asked that same question several months back when I first heard of Live Campus.

I was never what you’d call an activist in high school. I wasn’t a member of student government, I wasn’t actively involved in any service-oriented activities, I didn’t dream up ambitious ideas to solve the world’s problems.

Now I’m in college and several of these things still haven’t changed. I still have no desire to be in student government and I haven’t organized any protests lately. But I am involved in an ambitious idea to solve one of the world’s problems: poverty. This movement is called Live Campus 2009.

Live Campus 2009 is a Brandeis-based, national student movement seeking an end to global poverty and the creation of a united student movement. By hosting concerts at colleges across the country, we hope to both raise money and awareness of issues pertaining to global poverty. All money raised from these concerts will go to one of 11 charities with which Live Campus has partnered.

Many of you might be thinking: “You want to end global poverty how? By hosting a bunch of concerts? Good luck with that! College students are apathetic. Nothing we ever do is going to make a difference anyway. Besides, how can one person make a difference?”

Let’s face it, college students are busier than ever, and today it’s hard to find the time to sleep never mind spend hours upon hours engaged in service. But what if you could make a difference from your dorm room? What if you could use your passions and talents to enact change? What if it was actually fun?

You might be thinking, “Poverty isn’t my issue” or “It’s not my passion.” But what about women’s rights? What about education? How about hunger or maternal health? Surely one of these issues affects you in some way. We all have one issue that’s close to our hearts – whether directly or indirectly – and we all can contribute to those issues by joining Live Campus.

It’s easy to feel like you can’t make a difference when there are so many problems facing the world such as rising instances of HIV/AIDS cases or staggering infant mortality rates. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying “I have my own problems,” especially when the U.S. is facing its own economic troubles. It’s easy to think you can’t help a stranger who lives hundreds of miles across the ocean.

But you don’t need to build water wells to make a difference. You don’t have to go to Africa and work in an AIDS clinic to touch a life. As odd as it may sound, you can play soccer, you can write an article, you can host a concert to raise money to end global poverty. You can do what you normally do and still make a difference.

What does “Going Live” mean? Going Live means designing a pretty fabulous website like our web designer. Going Live means calling up schools you’ve never even heard of, asking them to join Live Campus. Going Live means donating the proceeds from your on campus concert to Live Campus because you were already planning one anyway. Going Live means writing this article right now.

You don’t have to be a big name artist to make a difference. You don’t have to be rich to contribute. You can start where you are right now.

As Associate Director of Communications for Live Campus, I’ve spent countless hours over these past few months talking to my peers, writing articles about them, and reading about them. Each time I come out of an interview with one of these students I am totally amazed. I’m amazed at their ingenuity. I’m amazed at their modesty. And I’m amazed by their hope and drive.

What students do does matter. Writing an article to raise awareness can help just as much as actually doing field work. Hosting jewelry classes for women or working to clean water abroad can change lives. Hosting a barefoot soccer competition can raise awareness about AIDS. Hosting a concert to end global poverty just may do that. And thinking you won’t make a difference is a waste of time.

So far, 23 schools have signed on to host Live Campus concerts. That’s 23 schools that realize the potential they have to make a difference. Twenty-three schools that are going Live.

So, when it comes time to go Live, will you? To learn more about Live Campus, visit our website at