Senators Encourage Students' Drive to Fight Poverty

  • Soccer Coach Dan Wagner, ONE Vote ambassador.  

Former U.S. Sens. Rick Santorum and Harris Wofford, once political rivals, joined together Monday to encourage Franklin & Marshall College students to engage the presidential candidates on issues of extreme poverty and global diseases — such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis — and to keep up the fight after the election.

Also on Monday, President John Fry signed a proclamation making the College an official Campus of ONE. The organization will base a chapter here and become a local hub of ONE Campaign activity in the region.

The ONE Campaign, founded by U2 singer Bono, is a global organization uniting millions of people to press government leaders to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease around the world. Pennsylvania ONE Vote encourages its 88,000 members to engage Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to continue discussion of the issues of poverty and global economics after the election.

The event also highlighted the efforts of Franklin & Marshall Soccer Coach Dan Wagner, who led the men’s team to Khayelitsha, South Africa, last year as part of an effort to promote Grassroots Soccer and the Desiree Elis Soccer League. Grassroots Soccer uses the game as a vehicle to enter areas that would otherwise be difficult to get access to. Once there, GRS promotes HIV/AIDS prevention. The DESL is a soccer league for orphanages in the township. South Africa has many orphans because of the AIDS crisis.

While there, the team played soccer with local squads and the children in the town, and promoted AIDS prevention. Additionally, the team has been raising funds to build a $350,000 youth soccer facility in Khayelitsha. The field will be dedicated to the memory of Diplomat soccer player Chris Campbell, who died last year. Campbell’s best friend Ryan McGonigle ’08 is in Khayelitsha to continue the work the team started.

For his and his team’s work, Wagner has been named Pennsylvania ambassador for ONE Vote ’08.

Wofford said Franklin & Marshall students have a historic opportunity to bend the ear of the candidates when it comes to issues such as global economics.

“After the election, we must hold whoever is elected accountable to their promises to fight poverty and disease in the poorest nations,” said Wofford, who served as a U.S. Senator from 1991 to 1994.

Santorum, who served in the Senate from 1995 to 2007, said the next president must make combating poverty around the globe and tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic a priority. “I look forward to hearing from Senators McCain and Obama on how they intend to address this should they enter the White House.”

Wofford and Santorum are co-chairs of Pennsylvania ONE Vote ’08. For more information, visit ONE.org.

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