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Campus Celebrity: Laura Baker

Laura is a third-year Health Sciences student at Northeastern. She is one of the co-founders – and the current vice president – of END7 at Northeastern, an on-campus chapter of a national organization dedicated to eradicating the seven most common neglected tropical diseases. Their work centers on fundraising, awareness, and advocacy for those in developing countries suffering from these easily treatable conditions.

END7 meets every Wednesday night at 6:30 in 238 Forsyth. You can follow them on Facebook here, and can reach out to Laura ([email protected]) with any further questions.

How did you become involved with END7?

I attended Northeastern’s Millennium Campus Conference a few years ago where someone from the national organization spoke. That experience got a lot of us interested, so we started a club. Collectively, these diseases affect 1 in every 6 people in the world. The people they affect are in third-world countries, and so do not have as much of a voice to advocate for themselves. Part of the goal of END7 is to advocate for those people.

What was the process of starting the club like?

It was difficult, because it felt like there were a lot of things to do and a lot of wait time between what we had to do. We were an unofficial club for a semester and a half, and then by late March of 2015 the club was approved. It’s hard to get recognition out, but once we do, the people that hear about END7 tend to remember it. We did outreach events last year, and for months after people kept coming up to me saying, “Hey, you’re the girl from END7!”

What events do you have coming up?

We have events throughout the semester, including an annual Trivia Night at Conor’s. Hopefully we will have a panel coming up in the next few weeks. Giving Tuesday, which this year is on December 1, is our biggest fundraising push: we raised about $1,500 last year. I’m also trying to get a new fundraiser together for the spring.

How is the Northeastern chapter of END7 involved with the national organization? What about other colleges in Boston?

One national representative organizes all universities across the country that have a club and holds monthly meetings over video chat. So far, our outreach is mainly focused on the Northeastern campus, but the idea is to eventually spread outside. One of our newer goals is to host at least one event with Boston schools every semester – up until this semester, there wasn’t much involvement on those campuses.

What’s been your favorite experience so far?

It was probably our a capella fundraiser last year. The Unisons hosted us for their annual fundraising show and brought in a capella groups from other schools, who all performed in AfterHours to support this cause.

What does it mean to you to be part of this organization?

It feels like it’s a very meaningful cause since it affects so many people and it’s so easy to treat these people. Drugs for these diseases have all been donated, and on average it costs about 50 cents to pay distribution costs per person per year. That efficiency makes me feel like I can really do something. Because I’ve been a part of it from the start, it feels like something I can take ownership of.

 

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Gwen Schanker

Northeastern

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