Rick Mercer challenges schools to raise money for malaria prevention and education
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
After 15 seasons, Rick Mercer Report will end this season. Mercer explained politics to Canadians in a fresh and memorable way. His show looks like a travel show more than a political comedy show because he does special reports on various aspects of Canadian culture. One of the features of his show is an initiative that he and Belinda Stronach created in association with Plan International called Spread the Net. In the challenge, various schools raise money to reduce the spread of malaria in affected countries around the world. The elementary, secondary, and post-secondary school that raises the most money will be seen in an episode of the show and Mercer will visit the winning schools.
The mosquito is the second deadliest animal in the world because they can spread diseases to other people, including malaria. They do this by the mosquito sucking up the virus from a person that has it and passing it to another person by biting the person and infecting them. While malaria is treatable, it is incredibly dangerous to pregnant women and young children. A way for someone to prevent getting malaria is by using a net that covers them. Hence, Spread the Net.
One net costs $10 and it saves lives because it reduces the amount of malaria that is being spread by the mosquitos. The money that is raised in the challenge will be used to buy nets and teach everyone how to use them and how to prevent themselves from getting the disease. So far, Simon Fraser University and Langara College are the only post-secondary schools in the Lower Mainland to win the challenge. Langara College won the post-secondary school section of the challenge last season raising $14,695. During Mercer’s visit to the college, he talked to the students and everyone that was in the college’s student union, Langara Student Union, which made it possible.
Since the show will end this season, I believe Douglas College should participate in the challenge. We could raise the most money in the post-secondary school section of the challenge by the Douglas Student Union accepting donations, doing a bake sale, etc. The plays that are performed in the college could give proceeds from ticket sales towards the challenge; we could hold a benefit concert and the sports teams in the college could raise money for it as well. If we raise the most money, Mercer will visit the college and we can provide lots of nets for malaria prevention and education.
If anyone in the college would like to do the Spread the Net challenge, feel free to ask me about it. You can contact me through the Other Press office.