It is important to realize that though many people in the U.S. are struggling with money woes and insurance issues, there are millions of people in other regions of the world who are struggling just to survive.

A worldly group of students at West Virginia University noticed a disconnect on campus between students and awareness of international civil rights issues. They decided to create a branch of the national organization Emergency USA at WVU.

“The overall goal of Emergency USA is to raise awareness for the civil victims of war and poverty,” said Laura Wilson, a junior majoring in biology and international studies from Bridgeport and president of Emergency USA on campus.

The new student group held their first meeting March 18. They already have more than 20 members.

“This organization is different from any other on campus because we focus on international work,” said Hayley Leight, a junior majoring in biology from Bridgeport and member of Emergency USA.

WVU’s Emergency USA is currently focusing on raising money for an initiative called Healing Hearts in Africa. Their goal is to raise $3,000 to go towards cardiac surgery procedures at the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery.

“We chose to work towards this specific goal in Sudan because we think that a lot of students are aware of the intense conflict in that area and may be more willing to get involved,” Wilson said.

In order to raise enough money, Emergency USA will be hosting a gala benefit dinner at Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa on April 30 from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Tickets are $40 and include the cost of dinner and entrance into the raffle for door prizes, which include a $500 weekend-getaway package at Lakeview.

Musical entertainment will be provided, and a representative from the national Emergency USA organization will speak.

“We encourage businesses and organizations throughout the WVU and Morgantown community to reserve a table, or sponsor one or two members of their groups to be present at the dinner,” Wilson said.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, e-mail Laura Wilson at