Senator Faith Ansah (‘25) joined the Senate meeting virtually as a representative of the board of Drew’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to request the Senate’s aid in co-sponsoring InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s annual “Operation Christmas Child” event. The request to co-sponsor was ultimately declined.
The event is a collaboration between InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse, a non-profit whose mission statement details “providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.” During this event, participating students pack items into shoe boxes to distribute to children from developing countries for Christmas.
Ansah called upon Student Government to “help provide funds for the event that will create a school environment that will help students support and aid children around the world,” stating that involvement from the Senate could be “an effective means of promoting Student Government visibility and prominence on campus.”
The proposal provided an estimated projection of the total cost of the event as $1,659.75 to cover the cost of feeding volunteers, as well as the donated items and packing materials for shipping. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship reached out to request $1,000 from the Senate in order to achieve adequate funding when combined with the $659.75 that IVCF already has.
Once Vice President Jocelyn Freeman (‘25) opened the floor up to potential questions, Attorney General Ben Paley (‘25) asked if the donated boxes would include gospel written in them. Ansah confirmed that messages would be included, but she said she did not know what exactly would be written and would look into it further. Senator Elliot Franklyn (‘25) inquired as to what the requested money would be used to purchase, to which Ansah reported that boxes were free but each box would need $10 for shipping, and the $1,000 requested would be in line with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s goal of packing 100 boxes total.
President Pro Tempore Brazil Brown (‘27) asked if InterVarsity Christian Fellowship knew where the boxes were being sent with specific regard being reserved for any receiving countries’ religion or climate. Ansah let the Senate know that upon sending the boxes, it would be possible to track which countries receive them.
Other concerns voiced were based around Samaritan’s Purse itself, with fear that the organization may operate with the goal of indoctrinating beneficiaries. “[We are] not indoctrinat[ing]. We are just donating as well as spreading the Gospel,” said Ansah.
Brown also called to attention Samaritan’s Purse’s past controversies, citing articles criticizing Samaritan’s Purse for inappropriate distribution such as “bringing gloves to a country that’s not normally cold.” Brown also noted Samaritan’s Purse’s requirement of its volunteers to sign a waiver condemning homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
A motion was then made on the floor to decline the co-sponsorship with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship by Franklyn. Paley admitted, “I have never seen that before to be honest with you, in my three years here, [a motion] to decline the resolution.” By bloc vote, the motion to decline the co-sponsorship was approved with 9 yea’s, 1 nay and 5 abstentions.
The meeting also saw the unanimous appointment of Joshua Bach (‘27) as elections chair. About the position, Bach had this to say: “I hope to use my position as elections chair to ensure the Drew community has a fair election. It is my job to serve the community by making sure that their candidates follow the rules and to make sure that each student has a voice in who the next president is.”
Rosie Sapperstein is a senior double majoring in English literature and media and communications.