Amid pressing assessment deadlines, five Newcastle University MA Media and PR students set off for London to help raise funds for humanitarian aid and conservation of endangered species in Cameroon.
Hosted by Newcastle-based Cross River Gorilla Project (CRGP), The Rainforest Ball proved to be a huge success, raising £10,000 in donations from 160 guests at London's scenic Kew Gardens on 30 March.
In attendance were representatives from the Cameroon's High Commissioner Office to the UK, Medicines Sans Frontiers, and Cameroonian Environment and Rural Development Foundation while included in presentations was a video contribution from Sir David Attenborough.
Following the event, Kellie Daniels, CRGP Deputy Director & Trustee, said:
"Newcastle students have been remarkably helpful and professional - they should be proud of what they achieved."
"This was a major task for even the most seasoned professional and they helped to deliver a flawless event which raised the charity's profile and exceeded our fundraising target."
While recognising the collaboration with the charity as a valuable work experience, the students (Sydney Macdonald, Evie Moffett, Niall Massingham, Lucy Spencer and Carina Kircheis, pictured above) felt they contributed to an important international cause.
Niall Massingham said:
"In the six months leading up to the event, we dedicated a lot of time to running social media campaigns to raise money for the humanitarian crisis in Cameroon. All of these activities contributed to the run up to the main event at Kew Gardens."
"Ultimately, the success of the event proved that the work the PR team did was an important and positive contribution to the charity."
Evie Moffett said:
"The opportunity to not only help organise, but also attend and aid the execution of the Rainforest Ball allowed me to put the theories and principles that I have been learning throughout my Media and Public Relations course into practice."
Ramona Slusarczyk, Lecturer in Corporate Communications in the School of Arts and Cultures, who invited the charity to collaborate with the students, is hoping for this type of partnerships to help students apply their knowledge and skills in a global context.
"There's definitely a strong need among our University's students to be involved in initiatives that not only can serve as a future showcase for their employment, but also give them a sense of having contributed to a meaningful project with a lasting impact," she said.
"We want students to gain a thorough understanding of the issues international charities face and exposing them to real-world challenges in intercultural setting is crucial for fostering our graduates' professional skills and global outlook."
The proceeds from the event will aide humanitarian assistance to Cameroonian south-western rainforest communities of which thousands have become displaced due to the country's unfolding political crisis, and to protect Cross River Gorillas, the most critically endangered of all African primates living in that area.
CRGP also collaborates with students from our School of Natural and Environmental involved in research focused on the preservation of the endangered Cross River Gorillas with less than 300 species remaining in the wild and in danger of extinction.
Source: Newcastle University