University of Akron UNICEF

Photo courtesy of University of Akron UNICEF

Last fall, a new student organization joined the University of Akron called UA UNICEF Campus Initiative. UNICEF stands for the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund. Worldwide, this organization works with people to raise funds and volunteer to help children in need. Maddie Cuckow, one of the founding members of the University of Akron’s UNICEF chapter, speaks about the founding of the organization, its goals, and why UNICEF matters.

Cuckow, along with some other students who were also passionate about helping children, decided to start the UNICEF group, and states that the organization had much success at other Ohio universities. Then they began to recruit other students, table in the Student Union, and fundraise. The University of Akron’s chapter donates to the United States fund. With these funds, they can help children receive basic and educational needs, and in some cases, even rescue children from human trafficking or other harmful circumstances.

The organization began holding events last semester. Their first was a fundraiser, and all the funds raised were used to help liberate children from sex trade.

They raised fifty dollars, which as Cuckow states, “It takes [nearly] five dollars to get a child out of sex trafficking.”

With another fundraiser, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, they were able to raise money to provide vaccinations, children’s toys, and other beneficial items. In mid-March, the group held their first major event, UNICEF Water Olympics.

“We aimed to raise 20,000 gallons of clean water for children around the world, and through the event, were able to raise 1,700 gallons of clean water…,” she says.

She says the process of starting a new student organization is difficult. However, UA UNICEF was lucky enough to be able to use a prior UNICEF chapter’s constitution. Cuckow says with new organizations, students must draft a constitution, apply for funding through the Undergraduate Student Government, find four members to become officers, and then receive 10 signatures of other students who are interested in becoming members.

She, like other members, became a part of the group because she is passionate about playing a beneficial role in the lives of children.

She says, “There is potential in every child, no matter where they come from, no matter who they are, and I believe every child deserves the right to an education, deserves the right to the best quality of life possible… If I can be instrumental in a small way in helping a child reach their fullest potential, then that is the biggest joy that I can have.”

To get involved or learn more about the group, check out them out on Facebook at UA UNICEF Campus Initiative, or follow them on Twitter at UAkronUNICEF.

Member of the Week: Dahmere Epperson


Dahmere Epperson is a member of WZIP. He is involved with the Music Programming team along with being a member of the On-Air Talent. His outgoing personality radiates through the mic, so some of you may recognize him by his DJ name, DJ EzD! Dahmere is the host of The Late Night Local Talent, which features local artists and bands in the Akron area. His positive attitude and drive to do the best is what every member of WZIP should aspire to be like. Dahmere loves the huge platform WZIP offers where everyone has the opportunity to show their skills and to become a professional.

Dahmere’s career goal is to work for a Sirius XM radio station.  His advice to new members of WZIP is to find what interests you most and to follow your path in order to make yourself happy. There are so many opportunities that WZIP offers, so finding what suits you most is beneficial. Remember to catch Dahmere live on air from 7 to 11pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Student Organization Spotlight: Muslim Student Assocation

Photo courtesy of University of Akron Muslim Students’ Association

An executive order created a ban on people from the countries of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Syria on January 28th. After much controversy, the executive order was put on hold and then revised. These revisions affect people from the aforementioned countries except for Iraq.

Nasser Razek, a faculty member at the University of Akron, as well as a member of the Muslim Students’ Association, spoke to us about the purpose of the Muslim Students’ Associaton, as well as how the travel ban is affecting Muslim students and students who come from the countries affected by the ban. Razek came to the United States from Egypt, but is acquainted with affected students through his position as a faculty member at the university, as well as a member of MSA.

According to Razek, the Muslim Students’ Association is a group that serves the needs of Muslim students on campus. Each Friday, they hold a weekly prayer, in addition to having meetings and inviting guest speakers throughout the semester.

Razek says that a lot of students come from Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Iran who study a variety of fields from engineering to business to education. Currently, these students cannot travel outside of the country. They are often told “don’t leave the country until you get your degree”.

While these restrictions are not supposed to affect current visa holders from these countries, this still poses an issue for many students. Razek explains that these students come to the United States with current visas, but when those visas expire, students file paperwork stating that they are still in the United States to finish their degrees and, thus, remain “in status”. Therefore, the current ban means that these students would have to get another visa if they are to return home.

Despite these issues, Razek says that the University of Akron has been a supportive community for these students and faculty members. He says, “The university is doing a good job in trying to keep up with the current students. However, there is not a lot the university can do if there is a ban on travel, on visas.”

Razek tells us that while there is much uncertainty about the current state of politics, he has hope for the future.

He says, “In Islam, we have a saying that when God wants to reinstate a virtue, he chooses someone to simply say bad things about the virtue, to attack the virtue, and then people would go back to that virtue and say ‘let’s think about this. Is this right or wrong? ‘…And then they would understand that this is a virtue, we should support that.”

While, the travel ban poses many fears and questions for students on campus, they still go about their daily lives, finding support in their student organizations, as well as community members at the University of Akron.

Member of the Week: Leslie Flores


Leslie is a member of both WZIP and ZTV. At WZIP, she works as a member within the news department. Leslie loves being a member of WZIP for many reasons. Especially because it gives you the opportunity to try out a little bit of everything and gain new life skills.

Leslie was nominated as Member of the Week because of her passion for what she does in the station. Her willingness to help others is inspiring. She serves as an excellent example of what hard work and dedication does in order to help transform a team. Her strong leadership qualities make her an asset to the station and we are truly lucky to have her. 

When Leslie isn’t busy participating in WZIP and ZTV, she has a variety of different hobbies and interests. Her favorite animal is a  whale, her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and she loves any food that involves cheese! Leslie loves to try out different local foods from surrounding restaurants in the area.

Leslie’s dream job is to write for a television show. Writing is one of her favorite pastimes along with reading. When it comes to starting out at WZIP and ZTV, Leslie has some advice for new members. She says, “do not hesitate when it comes to starting something new. Being apart of WZIP opens doors for many learning opportunities and it is helpful if you are willing to take advantage of them all”.