Seniors Kadyn Wittman and Brooke Walker had the opportunity to work with the ONE Campaign in Washington D.C. Feb. 22 through Feb. 27.
The ONE campaign was co-founded by Bono, and it is a bipartisan organization and advocacy program that fights against extreme poverty and HIV and AIDS mostly in African countries.
Wittman was contacted, through reference, by Meredith Horowski, one of the ONE campus coordinators, about starting a branch at Augustana. Wittman met with Horowski to learn about the opportunity.
“[Horowski] asked if I knew any other strong leaders here on campus that would be willing to help start something,” said Wittman. “I thought of Brooke.”
Walker is P.A. in Tuve and an active member of Serving and Learning Together (SALT).
The women completed a short application process to go to Washington D.C. Wittman received a $500 grant to attend. All other applicants applied in December, but the pair only knew about their acceptance 10 days before they left.
“Since we were accepted late, only Kadyn got the grant,” Walker said. This didn’t hold back the excited seniors. They booked their flights on Tues., Feb. 19, and left on Friday, Feb. 22.
While at the conference, they learned about our country’s foreign aid budgets.
“Most people think that 20 percent or 30 percent of the budget goes to foreign aid, but it’s actually 0.6 percent that goes to the foundations,” Walker said.
They learned what the ONE campaign is doing overseas, lobbied at the capitol building and had the opportunity to listen to speakers such as Carrie Hessler, head of the Peace Corps, and Rodger Thurow, author of “Enough,” a book about global poverty.
The women also participated in a phone bank, to call members of ONE asking them to speak to their state representatives about the new budget cuts that went into effect March 1.
“We were not asking for money, we are just asking not to be cut,” Walker said.
Walker and Wittman had the opportunity with other students from University of South Dakota to talk to South Dakota representative Kristi Noem, and South Dakota senators Tim Johnson and John Thune about prioritizing the budget.
Both women see this as a positive experience. They even had a chance to discuss possible job opportunities for after graduation.
There is talk of starting a ONE group on campus as well. If interested, contact Kadyn Wittman at firstname.lastname@example.org.