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Students Eye Move-out Castoffs for Charity

Published: May 05, 2010

As the academic year comes to an end and students start emptying their residence halls and apartments of goods too cumbersome to take home, students in UT’s Project Earth organization hope to claim their castoffs. 

They are planning a summer garage sale to raise money toward their $5,000 goal. The money will be used to purchase water filtration straws for children in Haiti and throughout Africa. Each straw costs $10 and provides the user with clean water for one year.

“I’m big on water issues because it’s the basic necessity for life,” said Gezime Ismaili ’11, president of the newly formed Project Earth, and an economics major.

Ismaili started the organization this spring semester after talking with a friend, Tea Muslic, who attends the University of South Florida. After discussing what they want to do after graduation, which included all sorts of plans to make an impact on global poverty, the two realized they didn't need to wait.

“We decided that we could start now, doing something at our schools for global poverty,” said Ismaili who would like to earn her doctoral degree and work on economic development with an organization like the World Bank. “I wanted to do something now that is challenging but specific to a cause.”

Muslic grew up in Bosnia and Ismaili in Kosovo.

“So we know about poverty,” said Ismaili, whose family left Kosovo during the war.

Muslic is slowly growing her Project Earth chapter at USF while Ismaili’s is growing in numbers at UT. About 30 members meet on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. in the Commuter Lounge, on the second floor of the Vaughn Center. They plan to meet sporadically over the summer and will have a more permanent meeting room come fall.

“It takes all talents, all skills to fight poverty,” Ismaili said. “The more people we have, the bigger impact we can make.”
Brigitte Egoavil ’13, a management major, joined Project Earth because of her experience growing up in Peru.

“Most students are not fully aware of what is going on outside the United States,” Egoavil said. “Poverty has always been present, but we don't do anything about it because we think it’s always going to be here. I am a firm believer that little by little we can make a change.”

Once they reach their goal for the water filtration straws, Ismaili said they’ll tackle other projects. She’d also like to have speakers from nonprofit organizations address the group and host educational fairs for the UT community.

To donate items for the garage sale or for information on Project Earth, contact Ismaili at (727) 688-3554 or e-mail


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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