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The Daily Tar Heel

Student Congress granted almost $10,000 to Operation Smile

UNC's student congress meets Tuesday night to conduct business.

UNC's student congress meets Tuesday night to conduct business.

Operation Smile’s goal is to provide community service, fundraise to send students on mission trips and raise awareness throughout campus. They provide cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries on international mission trips.

Ryan Cody, the founder and president of Operation Smile at UNC, requested money for the conferences and mission training workshops, a necessary component for students to go on mission trips.

Sophomore Student Congress representative Aidan Hennessy said this money originally added up to nearly $20,000, but Cody allowed Student Congress to cut the funding in half.

Operation Smile at UNC has made a large amount of money through fundraising, but this money all goes towards future surgeries. Money for travel is not raised through the fundraisers.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last three years, and we look forward to keeping that trend going,” Cody said. “We need help from Student Finance Committee and Congress to help us with that.”

To cut down the cost of travel, Student Congress decided that individuals who are attending the mission training workshop will also attend the international student leadership conferences.

“In (finance) committee, we wanted to get the most cost-effective solution possible and then bring it before Congress and say ‘with us maximizing our money, does this make sense?’” Student Congress representative Craig Amasya said.

Amasya said the funding granted to Operation Smile was to promote leadership development.

Some members of Student Congress were not as supportive of the funding.

“I am not entirely satisfied with the potential of this to bring something back to the student body here at the University,” representative John Anagnost said. “It seems like there will be a limited number of students who benefit from this leadership training, but it seems like that training is oriented towards projects that are not at this University.”

Although Anagnost said Operation Smile is a great organization, he was unsure how it aligns with the mission behind the money that Student Congress has to allocate.

“The leadership training brings active leadership back here to the club, whereas the mission training is training them to do mission work that is outside of UNC,” representative Travis Broadhurst said. “This training doesn’t benefit UNC students other than those students going on the mission trip.”

Overall, Broadhurst said the funding of international student leadership conferences and mission training workshops will be beneficial to UNC.

“I think it creates a really good name for UNC and a really good name for (Operation Smile at UNC),” Broadhurst said. “I think it’s going to bring a lot of leadership back.”

university@dailytarheel.com

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