New philanthropy group aims to unite clubs around CSP theme

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Sophomore Ashkan Mortazavi recently created the Inter-Philanthropy Network (IPN) to unite the philanthropic efforts of student groups across campus. The group, started after the success of last year’s “Date Night Done Well” event, will work in conjunction with this year’s Cultural Studies Program (CSP) theme of emancipation.

“IPN is really just now kicking off the ground,” Mortazavi said. “The whole premise … is to make the [Cultural Studies Program] theme of the year more than just nominal by actually finding a philanthropic angle to the theme and uniting the whole school under that philanthropic theme.”

The inspiration behind IPN came from last April’s “Date Night Done Well,” a sit-down dinner organized by Mortazavi and financed by the Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) Senate. The event raised $1,302 through ticket sales for “Well Done Liberia,” an organization that helps Liberians gain access to clean water. The proceeds were used to install a freshwater well in New Buchanan, Liberia, this past July.

This year, IPN will partner with RedLight Traffic, a non-profit organization that works to abolish sex trafficking in the United States and around the world, as well as with the Student Alumni Relations Committee (SARC) and other organizations on campus. They are also working with Dean of the College Jorge Gonzalez to get faculty more involved.

Assistant Director of the Occidental Annual Fund Kayhan Ahmadi assisted Mortazavi in creating IPN by connecting him with the Student Alumni Relations Committee (SARC). SARC works to connect student clubs and organizations with alumni partners, in order to strengthen student organizations at Occidental and increase alumni interest in the campus climate.

Ahmadi became involved with IPN because of the personal importance he places on philanthropic work.

“I think philanthropy is important, and something that is really exciting to me is to see the difference it can make,” Ahmadi said. “[Mortazavi] has the ability to make that very visible. He is really passionate about supporting these various causes, the community and Oxy. I’m just trying to find ways to support his vision.”

The specifics of future IPN events are not yet set in stone, but according to Mortazavi, there will be another “Date Night Done Well” this semester.