Students Paint-Up to Fight Polio

March 20, 2012
Beckham A. Stanley '13

Gates Foundation LogoWith spring, the students of Hampden-Sydney College are budding to help others. In recent weeks, a large majority of the student body painted their pinkies purple to support the fight to end polio. By donating and painting up, students' contributions were matched dollar-for-dollar by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Nearly $500 was raised in five days. With that money, 1000 children will be immunized.

Polio - a contagious viral disease that affects the nervous system and leads to total paralysis - can be prevented using an inexpensive vaccine. A single dollar donation will immunize two children and, perhaps, save innumerable lives.  The purple pinkie symbolizes an ongoing effort by doctors to prevent double dosages of the polio vaccine in localities where no medical records exist. A child's pinkie is colored purple with the topical solution Gentian Violet, temporarily marking him to prevent double dosage on National Immunization Days.

The Inter-Fraternity Council made a significant impact on this project by hosting a donation center at the February 18thMacon Game. August Widmer '13, IFC Chairman, who worked closely with Tom Ewing '13 and Karen Gollin, Coordinator of Volunteer Services, on the drive, was pleased to see fraternity members come out in large numbers. "It was wonderful to see all of our fraternities participating in this campaign," said Widmer, "We can never do enough good, and I'm excited for the upcoming events on the Circle."

Oyster Roast PosterHampden-Sydney's fraternities have long been known for lending a helping hand. That tradition continues in the upcoming Greek Week. On Saturday, March 31, the IFC will be holding a cookout for the No More Campaign; later that day, Sigma Nu will play host to an Oyster Roast to aid Professor Alex Werth's son, Collin, who requires a service dog.

This semester students and faculty alike have come out in full force to combat various social problems with level heads and optimistic attitudes. The same will ring true during the week-long celebration of Fraternity culture. By combining a good time with a good cause, much can be accomplished.