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African Student Union Joins Battle Against Ebola, Plans Community Fundraiser

Dan Noren and Oliver Fom KomThe African Student Union, a registered student organization of Ferris State University, has launched an effort to raise awareness as well as funds to fight the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

The two-week event, called “Together We Can Make a Difference: An Awareness and Fundraising Campaign to Address Ebola in West Africa,” will kick off with an informational event from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 at the West Campus Community Center on Ferris’ Big Rapids campus. The event will feature educational presentations, cultural entertainment and an opportunity to help prevent the spread of Ebola in West Africa and around the world.

“ASU members believe it is important to show that we care about our continent and support our brothers and sisters who are affected,” said ASU President Oliver Fom Kom, a junior majoring in Surveying Engineering who is from Cameroon in Central Africa. “This can happen to any country in the world.”

Presenters will include Dr. Harpreet Singh, a primary care physician who practices medicine in Grand Rapids and Big Rapids, and Daniel Noren, a professor of French in Ferris’ College of Arts, Sciences and Education. Noren was born and raised in Congo, also in Central Africa; his parents were missionaries there during the first Ebola outbreak in 1976.

“We, as a community, need to raise our eyes up from our daily lives in Mecosta County and focus globally at this time of need for our sisters and brothers in Western and Central Africa,” Noren said. “Then we need to ask ourselves what we can do.”

The Ferris and Big Rapids communities are invited to attend the event.

Singh, medical director at Michigan Primary Care Partners, Dr. Harpreet Singhalso is an educator who conducts Vital Checklist workshops and webinars for students.

“Ignorance leads to panic; knowledge leads to strength and betterment,” Singh said.

A question-and-answer session will follow their presentations.

The 2014 epidemic is the largest in history and has affected multiple countries in West Africa. More than 4,500 people have died from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here.

African Student Union members will accept donations for Africans in Medicine, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that ships essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment to isolation and treatment centers in Liberia in West Africa.

Donation boxes also will be available at various locations and some events on the Ferris campus as well as Nawal’s Mediterranean Eatery, 111 S. Michigan Ave., in downtown Big Rapids, through Dec. 1.

For more information, visit the FSU Events Calendar, here, or the FSU African Student Union page on Facebook, here. For additional information on Africans in Medicine and the organization’s Ebola response, go to their website, here.


Daniel Noren, a professor of French in Ferris State University's College of Arts, Sciences and Education, and Oliver Fom Kom, president of the African Student Union at Ferris.