Manhattan College has joined more than 1,000 other universities across the nation in fighting global poverty and AIDS by raising awareness in their communities.
With Manhattan senior Kieran O'Shea at the helm, the school signed up to take the One Campus Challenge, a series of projects students can do to get the word out about international crises. For each mission accomplished, the college is awarded points and ranked on the One's Web site, at www.one.org.
Some of the ways schools can rack up points include getting publicity in newspapers, wearing One T-shirts around town or hosting community events on campus.
After a lackluster start, Manhattan climbed to 84th place with 5,740 points, as of Monday.
Mr. O'Shea, who is vice president of the school's social life organization, attended a One event at the Apollo last month. The charity drive, which was aired on MTV, welcomed a slew of notable figures, including U2 singer, Bono, the campaign's key organizer, former president Bill Clinton and musician Alicia Keyes.
The senior said he was so moved by the presentation that he was ready to start his own One chapter at the school. And, it appears, his dogged determination has rubbed off on his Manhattan College classmates. So far, he has recruited 66 students to participate in contests.
The One Campus Challenge keeps the students plugged in by announcing mini-challenges, worth 10,000 points, every Monday. For the Global Day of Action Against Poverty, on Oct. 17, for example, the colleges were charged with creating a special event recognizing the day, and then writing a report about it.
The challenge will culminate in April, and the top 100 schools will get to send a representative to an event in Washington, D.C. The winning school gets money for a concert.
While a visit to the nation's capital would be nice, Mr. O'Shea is still working on shaping the fledgling club and taking the No. 1 spot. He has yet to organize an event, and the club is still waiting to get official recognition from the college's student government.
He has a long way to go to catch up with front-runner Hofstra University, where 780 students have accrued more than 100,000 points for their school.
Regardless, Mr. O'Shea said he has his sights set on the spring. He is striving to bring "a few colleges together for a concert for awareness in Central Park." Rethinking that, he added, "maybe that's a stretch, maybe in Van Cortlandt Park."