Mar 122009
Authors: Brian Anthony

Generally, people do not make a connection between wearing goofy red clown noses and devastating global famines, but today, CSU students will use the former as a solution to the latter as they celebrate Red Nose Day.

Comic Relief, an organization founded in 1985 in the United Kingdom, serves to raise money to fight international poverty and crisis by “doing something funny for money,” and two CSU organizations are signed up to do exactly this.

“When Comic Relief started (the organization) wanted kids to be aware of what it meant to be a global citizen and what extreme poverty is,” Ally Murphy, the vice president of the CSU comic relief group named the United Nations Association, said. “And so (organization efforts were) kind of directed at Africa.”

The first Red Nose Day, in 1988, brought in approximately 15 million pounds. The event, which is held every other year, alternates with another charity, Sports Relief, which focuses on childhood obesity in the UK.

Across the globe, groups in support of Comic Relief, including CSU’s United Nations Association, which was named according to where the group wanted its money to be donated, have raised millions to improved malaria treatment, mental and maternal health and education. In the last 11 years, thousands of Red Nose Day participants across the world have raised over 420 million pounds to help people in need in both the UK and Africa.

Coleson Green, the president of the CSU United Nations Association, which was created several years ago, said that the organization is “always looking for ways that support the millennium goals” for the UN. These eight goals according to the UN’s Millennium Campaign Web site include: ending hunger, improving gender equality, improving child and maternal health, combating HIV and AIDS and fostering increased environmental sustainability and global partnership.

Murphy and Green said the money raised from those who purchase red clown noses from the CSU UNA for $2 or simply donate to the foundation will be given directly to Comic Relief.

Murphy, who first learned about Comic Relief’s efforts from the BBC, likes the fact that she can see how the money raised is applied to the countries and how it benefits the people. She admits she is skeptical of some other foundations because many only send photographs of the children to whom the money was supposedly given.

Using the example of McFly, a British pop rock band, performed in a music video in Uganda, raising money for Comic Relief’s mission, Murphy said she appreciated that “celebrities that are involved follow up” on whether funds are spent appropriately. After contributing to the foundation, McFly went back to Uganda to confirm that the money raised was spent on all that was promised.

Green, who didn’t know about Comic Relief before Murphy introduced him to it, said that he thinks it is a “unique way to support really important goals as opposed to doing something else.”

“Our next big thing is collecting books for Africa and Central America,” he said, explaining the books will be sent to Africa to fill desperately slim library and school shelves.

Students who want to participate can buy noses for $2 in the Lory Student Center Flea Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donors will also receive a gumball.

“We’re really looking forward to see everyone come out and support Red Nose Day,” Green said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s a great way to kickoff spring break.”

Staff writer Brian Anthony can be reached at

Red Nose Day Facts

– The international foundation Comic Relief was created on Dec. 25, 1985

– Later in 1988, Red Nose Day was established and participants raised $20.9 million to benefit people living in poverty in Africa and the United Kingdom.

– In eleven years, all participating groups have raised about $584.7 million.

– Students can buy a red clown nose from the CSU United Nations Association in the Lory Student Center Flea Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

– Money donated will go to Comic Relief to help combat malaria and improve mental and maternal health and education.

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