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Last week, the Bull & Bear Bar in Bulle was filled with live music, dancing, drinks and conversation, all for a good cause: Glion’s Charity Committee. This fundraising event united Glion students and staff with members of the community in Bulle for the biggest Glion charity event to-date. Most importantly, it advanced their mission to create awareness around the committee’s activities. We sat down with the founders to find out how they got started, what they’ve been doing and how people can contribute.

Get involved: upcoming events and membership

The next Glion Charity Committee event is the Charity Cocktail on Thursday, April 28, 2016. It will be held on the Glion campus at the Hotel des Alpes. Tickets are 30CHF, which includes an open bar and dinner and a raffle ticket.

“The highlight of this bi-annual evening event will be the presence of representatives from the charities; we are going to hand over the funds we’ve collected throughout the semester. We are so grateful to the Food & Beverage Department of Glion, because they donate the food, and to the students who are doing their applied learning, because they will be serving the cocktails.

We also have a committee representative in Montreux, Eloise, and she brought in Tendi Sherpa (a Nepalese mountain guide who visited Glion recently to raise awareness about the conditions and recovery of people in Nepal after the earthquake). At this charity dinner we will present Tendi Sherpa with the funds raised for his cause and we will present him with a Glion flag that he will take to top of Everest next time he goes up.”

The beginning

The Charity Committee was founded in 2015 by Tanya Zapata Sutcliffe and Alexander Robertson to fill a gap that they had noticed in the Glion community.

“I’ve always done charity work, even on internship I found something to do, and I couldn’t believe that in this school with all of these students from affluent backgrounds, and we have such a global network of friends and alumni and industry people, yet there was no official charity organization at the school,” Tanya said, “Alexander and I realized we had the same goal, so we decided to create the charity committee.”

“I’ve also always been involved in charity,” Alexander added, “With my parents at first, then I volunteered for projects in the UK when I was young. In Costa Rica, I worked with Raleigh Gravity creating water feed systems for remote villages to have access to running water. I also worked in Canada doing disabled ski instruction for adults and children, and I worked for Help for Heroes which supports veterans who have disabilities.”

Awareness, Transparency and Continuity

The Glion Charity Committee has three primary objectives.

“We wanted to create awareness in two ways. First, to make our fellow students more aware of our privileged situation and that we need to be doing something to give back to the world,” Tanya said, “And to raise awareness about the value of volunteer work.”

“We also wanted to show transparency in how our activities impact the associations that we sponsor. That’s why we are sponsoring two relatively small organizations, because it allows us to make a difference with the funds raised and the impact is clear.”

And last, but not least, they aim to establish continuity. “We created the committee in part to ensure the transition from one class to the next, to make sure that Glion’s charity activities would not end just because we are gone from the campus,” Tanya said.

The most successful charity event so far

The live music event that took place recently at the Bull & Bear Bar in Bulle was really a culmination of the committee’s success. The venue hadn’t hosted any Glion events before, but it went fantastically well. They had ten performers and two dancers, all of whom were Glion students who volunteered their time and talent to raise funds.

“We wanted to organize something a bit more upscale and to get away from the party nights. With the tickets, students got wine and food. For this event, we took a two pronged approach,” said Alexander, “It was a chance to raise funds and awareness while creating a sense of community and purpose among students and also Bulle locals. Many Glion staff and faculty were present, and it was open to the public. Everyone had a wonderful night. We even had a meeting with the hotel manager who runs the club, and the feedback was great, everyone really liked it, and she even said that in the future they would be happy to host other events.”

Additionally, they gathered sponsorship from student start-up companies. Gala Image did the photography and created a great video, it’s a small company run a Glion student.

“Students also really enjoyed it and loved the experience of doing something for a cause,” Tanya said, “We ran it at the same time as Glion’s Got Talent, we wanted to have a similar action but with an added goal for charity, and students really liked having access to a performance arts stage, without the competition.”

Focus on youth and education

The Glion Charity Committee regularly donates funds to two charities that they selected based on the affinity with the groups’ missions.

“It makes sense for Glion students, who are getting a great education, to support charities that take children off the streets and get them an education, and try to give them opportunities to develop skills and find the support emotionally and academically. We even use the hashtag #Gliontochild, to create a connection between us,” said Tanya.

They donate funds to Casa Alianza, the branch in Mexico, where Tanya is from. “It aims to get young people off of the streets and back into school and give them skills for a better life. They take youths, ages 12-18, who are on the streets and put them through a five stage program: re-establishing health and hygiene, adapting to normal living, getting an education, doing apprenticeships and reuniting with family,” Tanya explains.

The other charity is Uganda Charity Trust Fund which also supports children who are either on the street, or who are living in such circumstances that education is not accessible.

“They have a boarding school where they offer food and housing, plus a normal education. They also focus heavily on sports, developing athletic programs and encouraging students to compete. Many of these children go on to represent the country in international sports competitions. After the boarding school, they are committed to getting them into higher education or apprenticeships. It has a tiny operating budget and Mr. Karim, the founder, is coming to Glion,” says Alexander, clearly enthusiastic about this prospect.

The Future of the Glion Charity Club

As Tanya and Alexander near the end of their studies, they are passing on the torch to other students who share their love for philanthropy. Thanks to the diligence of the current members, the committee will continue to accomplish great things by channelling the energy and talent of Glion students to give less fortunate students access to education and training.

Glion CEO, Guy Bentley, expressed his support for the club and the underlying benefits for students. “In the Glion Charity Committee, students embrace the Glion Spirit of humility and giving. Their work makes lives better for those they help, and it teaches them about the importance of selfless leadership.”

For more information about this event, or to get in touch with the Glion Charity Club to learn more about membership and donations, visit their Facebook page.

Photo By: Gala Image, The Glion Charity Club

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Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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