Australia fundraiser proves to be a successful idea

Science teacher’s donation drive serves as inspiration


Grace Schultz

Junior Isaac Scott donates toward the wildfires in Australia Jan. 6. Science teacher Jessica Gust hopes to raise funds for resources in Australia.

Samantha Klepfer

Australia’s 2019 bushfire season, which has caused concern worldwide, started in October, according to Insider. Due to a prolonged drought beforehand, the season’s fires are greater and stronger than in past years. This problem has since been exacerbated by the fact that Australia’s government has been primarily disregarding the issue.

The bushfires are currently raging over a significant portion of Australia which has led to an estimated 1 billion animals killed, at least 25 people dead and around 2,000 homes destroyed so far, according to Insider. This has since proven the significance of the issue, which desperately needs solving.

Recently, science teacher Jessica Gust set up a fundraiser out of her classroom to fund the NSW Rural Fire Service. According to Gust, she planned to donate the proceeds to four different organizations, covering wildlife, firefighters and Australians impacted by the bushfires. 

Gust’s fundraiser is a great idea. The fundraiser eliminated many obstacles experienced by those willing to donate. It allowed any student to donate any amount of money simply by bringing the cash to school and giving it to Gust in her classroom. Anyone could bring money to room A302 and they didn’t have to worry about the logistics, which were dealt with by Gust herself. 

The fundraiser did more than just make it convenient for students to donate, it also brought the issue, as well as donating to important causes in general, to the forefront of our minds. Raising awareness about the Australia fires to students and teachers at Park alike is important because the issue is significant and will have lasting impacts on a great number of people. Additionally, as a community that pledges to care about the environment, the 350 metric tons of carbon dioxide that has been released by the fires so far is something many at Park would want to be aware of. 

One thing to consider, however, is the sensationalization of these fires. Yes, it’s obvious they are a big deal to many people, but it’s important to assess where you want to donate your money and why, every time you consider contributing to a cause. The fact that the Australian bushfires are so prevalent in the media — celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman and Kylie Jenner have all announced their financial support for Australia recently — can cause concerned do-gooders and students alike to jump on the ever-growing bandwagon without considering their donation carefully enough.

That being said, the fires in Australia are a large problem, not only Australia but the world as a whole considering the extreme damage these bushfires are causing to the environment. 

I encourage more Park teachers to set up fundraisers throughout the school for issues they consider to be important. Fundraising at school is a fairly effective method and it encourages students to be more charitable and globally-minded. 

Though Gust’s fundraiser has ended, if you’re looking for a way to help Australia, comedian Celeste Barber is running a fundraiser on her Facebook account that is donating the proceeds to one of the same organizations as Gust: the Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund.