By Alexa Milano
September 26, 2012

Although it seems like the presidential debates cover almost every topic imaginable, this year one question keeps getting asked: what about Sudan?

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) of Cabrini College took it upon themselves to spread the word about a petition on change.org drafted by Cabrini College senior math major Brian Wagner and Villanova junior CRS ambassador Carolyn Rau hoping to help end the suffering of the Sudanese people. The overall goal is to get one question asked at the presidential debates about the suffering in Sudan:

“What are you, if elected, going to do to stop the suffering of the Sudanese people?”

“I first heard about Sudan at a State Radio concert at the Electric Factory about 6 years ago,” Wagner said. “Since then I’ve become increasingly involved in working to raise awareness in Sudan. When Dr.  Zurek asked for my involvement, I jumped at the opportunity.”

The best part about this campaign: it’s almost all through social media.

“When Dr. Zurek told my ECG 300 class that CRS had decided to ask Cabrini to start a social media campaign to get a question about Sudan asked at the Presidential debates, my initial reaction was ‘This is so cool!’” Clare Pressimone, an active supporter of the petition, said.

The majority of circulation this issue is getting right now is through social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter. This campaign has its own Facebook page, Twitter name, and hashtag.

“Social media is such a major part of society, so using it to reach the world about such a noble cause seems so easy and natural so why not go for it?!” Pressimone said.

The country of Sudan has been struggling for decades now for many reasons– an unstable economy, a government that’s unwilling to protect its people, crime, stalled efforts of the international community and most recently, border security and oil drilling.

The petition compares the suffering of the Sudanese people to the Holocaust, and the situation in Rwanda where nearly a million people were killed in 100 days. The petition states, “Today, we are faced with a choice: We can turn a blind eye until our children cry ‘Never Again,’ or we can stand up and ensure Never Again means Never Again.”

“Getting a question asked [at the presidential debates] is the first step in getting the conversation started,” Wagner said. “It’s not realistic that we’re going to be able to end the crisis ourselves in the next week, but if we can at least let our elected officials know that this is an issue people are concerned about, we can start to induce change.”

It seems as if most people aren’t properly educated about what exactly is going on in Sudan. The presidential debates would help this issue not only get press, but also increase awareness about the horrible things that happen around the world.

“As I became more educated on the situation I wanted to know why we weren’t doing more to end the suffering in Sudan and South Sudan,” Pressimone said. “So asking the Presidential candidates directly is the perfect way to ensure something is done on a governmental level.”

And what better way to spread the word than social media. With 140 million twitter users, and 995 million Facebook users the word is bound to get spread. The only thing that could help? A celebrity. Dr. Jerry Zurek along with the CRS ambassadors would be ecstatic if George Clooney got on board with this petition.

“If we work hard to bring the Sudan situation to light, perhaps the world will realize that pain and suffering are still prevalent in our world and we must do something to put it right,” Pressimone said.

So, what about Sudan?

Sign the Petition – http://bit.ly/whataboutsudan

Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/WhatAboutSudan

Twitter Page – http://twitter.com/whataboutsudan

Twitter Campaign – http://twubs.com/WhatAboutSudan

Twitter Name – @whataboutsudan

Twitter Hashtag – #Whataboutsudan

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Alexa Milano

Junior communications major, marketing minor at Cabrini College. News editor of The Loquitur, President of the Campus Activities and Programming (CAP) Board, student ambassador. Enjoys napping and being productive all at the same time; irony at its finest.

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