The Nwagni Project held its annual spaghetti dinner this past Thursday at Cascarelli’s in downtown Albion. The dinner was a fundraiser in an effort to raise money for a service trip to Batchingou, Cameroon, the home of Emmanuel Yewah, foreign languages professor.
“It’s really a continuous effort to take trips to Cameroon and keep improving the living standards there,” said Sean Thornton, Buchanan junior. “This project has been going on for several years now, which has gone as far as building schools, and this year we want to help construct a water purification system for the village.”
Nwagni (pronounced “wah-nee”) has been spotted on several occasions in the Kellogg Center, with volunteers constantly taking donations in preparation for the trip, which will take place sometime in January. T-shirts and other various items are handed out as well to participants for making an effort to help out the project. Many Albion students continue to join the team, as several upper classman have been involved since their first year.
Abby Schonfeld, Brooklyn junior, says that she has been a part of Nwagni since her FYE mentor encouraged her to check it out.
“The best part about this organization is that it’s dispelling the myths about African lifestyles,” Schonfeld said. “I went there when I was a freshman and it surprised me because I could relate to so many people that lived there.”
Schonfeld stated that she made a lot of ties between American culture and every day life in Cameroon.
“They have a great sense of community there, being involved with schools, government, that kind of stuff,” Schonfeld said. “It was also really fun to see that the relationship between family members are so similar to my own.”
Over 150 people turned up for the spaghetti dinner. In addition to helping the organization, students had a chance to converse with several local residents who support several of the fundraisers that the college puts on.
“I think that it’s a great program for people to get involved in, and they definitely know how to put on a great event to get this many people to show up,” said Brandon Cutcher, Taylor sophomore. “Many of the members from my fraternity showed up, simply because we love supporting all of the effort that people put into something such as this,” he said.
At the end of the day, the dinner had raised around $850, in addition to the Kellogg Center donations, which gave the project a grand fundraising total of around $1,000. However, donations will be accepted on a rolling basis until the mission trip in January.
Mallory Fellows, Jenison senior, agrees with Cutcher and feels that the enthusiasm and great dedication of students are what make Nwagni Project such a lucrative organization.
“Nwagni has become a great connection for students to become involved on campus,” said Fellows. “It’s really wonderful to see everyone working together for such a great cause and I’m eager to get increasingly more involved to help them meet their goals.”