Written by Eleanor Liu, Contributor
With the recent rise in disasters around the world, there has been an increase in efforts to raise awareness about children suffering from abuse, disaster, and poverty. FUSCAN (Furman University Save the Children Action Network), Furman’s branch of Save the Children Action Network, a non-governmental organization, has formed a part of this larger effort and held a number of events to raise awareness for the cause.
In order to properly address the issues that children are facing and their lack of protection from traumatic events such as bombings, shootings, and sexual abuse, Emma Bondy, treasurer of FUSCAN, states that FUSCAN spends a majority of its time “building bipartisan support to make sure that every child has a strong start to life.” Although they primarily promote on campus, FUSCAN also offers opportunities to connect with SCAN community members around Greenville and throughout the country, such as participating in advocacy summits to DC and hosting SCAN booths at the Children’s Museum in Downtown Greenville. Additionally, they have worked with Headstart, For the Safety of Children at the Southern US Border, and other related organizations located in the various conflict zones around the world.
While SCAN is a national organization, Lauren Heimburg, president of FUSCAN, and Bondy have hosted a variety of events on campus to bring awareness specifically to Furman students and the communities surrounding Furman. The members of the organization often table around campus and offer students the chance to learn more about their campaign. In the past year, FUSCAN has hosted CLPs and set out exhibits to provide a more intimate understanding of the importance of early childhood education and providing a positive environment for children to grow.
Their most recent campaign, a standing library exhibit, focused especially on the personal stories of children living in conflict zones across the world. Heimburg explains that the exhibit provided the opportunity to place “name to face and show the children who are affected by the programs and legislation.” There was also a mailbox next to the exhibit where people were able to fill out postcards that FUSCAN would later mail to Washington D.C., where the SCAN headquarters are located.
According to FUSCAN, the library exhibit garnered positive feedback for and interest in the organization. Heimburg, who had been tentatively observing the exhibit, saw people pulling their friends to come and look at it. She says that the exhibit was far more effective and impactful than just saying, “hey, here’s a cookie, sign this petition.”Personalizing each child’s story, Bondy explains, also shows the audience that these children are not that different from the children around us.
FUSCAN desires to be a gateway for Furman, allowing students to collaborate and directly work with policy makers and local leaders. Bondy says that FUSCAN strives to ultimately be “the political voice for the children.” With the upcoming 2020 election, FUSCAN will be preparing to host discussions, political watch parties, debates, and bingo nights. Despite its political focus, Heimbgurg and Bondy emphasized that FUSCAN is a bipartisan organization focused on advocating for children and creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all perspectives in order to spread SCAN’s mission throughout Furman’s campus.