By Harley Davis, Contributing Writer
Comedian and UMF alum Bob Marley visited UMF, bringing laughter and cheer to the campus to raise money for Operation Giveback, a semester-long campaign to bring awareness to childhood poverty in Franklin County. After a long week filled with the snowy weather that spring brought to Maine, a little laughter was exactly what the community needed.
“Bob Marley was chosen since he attended UMF, and he would be a great person to help with this charity event since he’s so well known,” said Ceilya Cooley, executive director of the Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE). “We haven’t had him on campus as a performer in ages.”
UMF’s Student Maine Education Association (Student MEA) was happy to partner with ACE to bring Bob Marley to campus. “We were lucky enough to have ACE cover the cost of bringing Bob to campus so that we get to keep the ticket sales,” said Stephen Riitano, president of UMF’s Student MEA.
“The goal for our fundraiser is to combat childhood poverty,” said Riitano. “All proceeds from ticket sales go to Student MEA’s Operation Giveback in which we are creating back to school backpack kits for students and teachers in the local schools.” These backpack kits will be given out during the beginning of the school year next fall.
According to Student MEA, the Bob Marley event was a success. About 135 people attended the show, generating over $1000 in ticket sales for the club to use to give back to children in the community.
“Operation Giveback is a semester long campaign designed to not only spread awareness to the greater Franklin County area about childhood poverty, but also doing something about it,” said Rittano.
Student MEA began Operation Giveback in January with a panel discussion on childhood poverty in Franklin County. The club will continue its semester-long campaign through April to give back to the community as much as possible.
“We are in preparation for designing a “Kids Day” in April free for all kids around the area to come and have a day full of activities to promote awareness and give back to the children of the community,” said Riitano. “We are also cosponsoring a workshop event on April 19 for education majors to come and learn about many different opportunities to get involved, childhood poverty, and other essential skills that educators need.”
Operation Giveback will end in April. “We are going to be wrapping up our campaign this semester at Symposium, come see our presentation,” said Riitano. Symposium will take place on April 26.
ACE is also gearing up for a fun-filled spring semester. “We have Samuel Comroe who is a comedian, as well as a motivational speaker/hypnotist coming in April,” said Cooley continuing, “April should be a fun month!”