This past week, students leaving the Tully or stopping by the Dunkin’ Donuts or the Stag Diner were graced with the presence of the Humanitarian Action Club’s Easter Table. Their members shouted through the building as students walked by, hoping to gain their attention. 

The Easter Table is a fundraiser that the club is currently hosting, where they sell raffle tickets for Easter baskets. All of the proceeds from this go towards buying water filters for disadvantaged communities living in areas with unsafe drinking water. This fundraiser is only one example of how the Humanitarian Action Club (HA) embodies service at the university by raising money for important causes around the world. 

The Humanitarian Action Club is one of roughly 200 clubs that are offered to students at Fairfield University. This begs the question, why join this club? Bobby Schattle ‘25, one of their lead team members believes that people should join because of their mission statement. The club is devoted to raising awareness about humanitarian issues on Fairfield’s campus and building strategies to successfully respond to these crises. 

They currently have 452 members, which is more than the average club that typically has around 100 members. The club also has various team leaders and fellows, including: Amelia Bowles ‘24, Jackie Campbell ‘24, Evan Keiser ‘24, Grace Lannigan ‘25, Kai Meiser ‘25, Charlotte Savigny ‘26, Bobby Schattle ‘25 and Mia Vanmatter ‘26. 

Schattle joined the Humanitarian Action Club his freshman year after seeing their table at the Club Fair in the Fall Semester. He said, “I joined because I’m a very service-oriented person and did a lot of service in high school. What we do at the club responds a lot more to global humanitarian crises and refugee work, which I was not very well-versed in in high school, so I did that to augment my service side.” 

Bowles said, “I chose to join the club because of the welcoming environment and impactful events.” She joined the club in the Fall of 2020, which meant that every meeting was held on zoom, but even then, she noticed that they made a great effort to include everyone in conversation and brainstorm creative ways to build meaningful connections with the members. This seems to be a common theme, as Schattle and Bowles both noted that the upperclassmen were extremely inclusive when they first joined and often met with club members outside of meetings for those interested in pursuing additional humanitarian action projects. 

Schattle recommends that anyone interested in service join the club. He explained, “The club is so much fun. But, more importantly, there are so many issues going on in the world that need help. This is the perfect opportunity to provide assistance to these people and others on and around campus.” 

The club is supported by their faculty advisor, Julie Mughal, who is the Associate Director for the Humanitarian Action and the Center for Social Impact. Mughal has been involved with many nonprofit organizations, as well as the United Nations, and has many contacts to help students interested in Humanitarian Action. She coordinates the fellow and lead team meetings every week. Mughal also deals with logistics with departments at Fairfield, including budget requests, tabling requests and reaching out to faculty and staff. While all of these are vital to the club, Schattle said that “we call her the club Mom because she takes care of us like her kids and cares about all of us and what we do as a club.”  

Mughal really takes an interest in students, making the club an inviting environment. Bowles had glowing reviews about her faculty advisor. She stated, “Julie truly is the most amazing and involved club advisor. We are so lucky to have her because she is clearly passionate about the work we do and does everything within her power to support us… She has been a mentor to everyone in the HA community. She’s always there when we need someone to talk to, whether it be about personal, academic or professional advice.” 

Mughal not only participates in the club as the advisor but also serves as the fellowship supervisor, giving her a unique position, stated Bowles. 

The club has biweekly meetings that typically last for about an hour and are available to everyone and are held in Canisius 200. This hour consists of team and community building and planning and logistics for future campaigns. Schattle stated, “The meetings vary a lot, but they’re all really fun and engaging. There’s always a treat at every meeting and it’s a great way to meet people and make new friends. Right now, we’re building baskets for our Easter Table so that we can raise money for Wine to Water.” 

Wine to Water is a foundation that works with the United Nations to provide clean water to millions of people around the world. Amelia Bowles ‘24, another team leader for the Humanitarian Action Club explained, “We work hard to raise money for this foundation by doing things, like tabling, raffling off baskets, and having our members set up donation pages for the cause. Our current raffle for Easter baskets is one of our efforts to reach our goal of raising $5,500 each semester.” This goal is specific because they hope to donate 100 water filters every semester and each filter costs $55.  

In addition to the raffle, one of the club’s biggest events is coming up soon. On April 21, Humanitarian Action will be hosting a water filter build in the traffic circle outside of the Barone Campus Center and the First-Year Quad. This event occurs every year towards the end of the Spring semester. Bowles ‘24 states, “We celebrate Earth Day by hand assembling water filters that will be shipped around the world to various crisis zones and regions with high levels of water insecurity.” 

Schattle explained, after the club raises enough money to purchase 100 water filters, they send the money to the foundation and, in return, they send kits for students to put the filters together. These are later shipped back to Wine to Water so they can be distributed. 

While building the filters is an amazing way to give back to the community and help those who are in difficult situations, Bowles also explained that students and other volunteers are able to write cards to the people that are receiving the water filters. She continues, “This is a super cool way to connect with the individual receiving the filter you put together.” 

Bowles ‘24 detailed that the club has been fundraising for the filter build since the start of the school year. Currently, the club has raised $3,000 for the semester and $370 of this has come from the Easter raffle that began last week. 

Evan Keiser ‘24, another team leader, stated, “In the past we were able to send more than 100 water filters to various areas of crisis around the world. Last year, a lot of them went to Ukraine and the year before, many went to Texas because they had a severe water crisis.” 

Joining the Humanitarian Action Club allows for students to aid communities experiencing extreme circumstances and creates meaningful connections with people on and off campus. 

Bowles ‘24 also encourages students to apply to be Humanitarian Action Fellows, for multiple fellows are graduating this year. The Center for Social Impact is now accepting applications for students looking “to become involved in our campus and local communities… and are interested in leadership and advocacy.” Students are also urged to stop by some of the meetings and show up to the upcoming filter build on April 21.

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Junior | Head News Editor | Political Science Major | International Business, Spanish Minors | Boston, MA

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