School of Science Donates

School of Science Donates 500 Books to Zimbabwe

The University School of Science has collected over 500 science textbooks to benefit the Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) in Zimbabwe through a book donation. The project, led by chemistry professor Dr. Tsnangurayi Tongesayi, asked students and faculty to donate textbooks to support the BUSE community, which is in need of basic educational resources.

“Because of the economic downturn in the country over the last decade, [BUSE] has not been able to replenish some of its very basic needs,” said Tongesayi, who has a strong relationship with BUSE as the first lecturer and Chair of the Chemistry Department from 1996 through 2001.

Tongesayi’s idea for a book donation project developed during a recent research visit to the school when he recognized the school’s need for textbooks. Upon his return to the University, Tongesayi received the support of the School of Science and put the project into action.

Students and faculty were donate new or used science textbooks about any topic. In addition, several students and faculty volunteered time to further sort the books to be packaged.

Lauren Lechner, a sophomore majoring in chemistry, cataloged and packaged the books for delivery as a participant of the project. “I felt that it was a great idea,” she said. “It’s always a great feeling to help out and donate time and materials to other students who need more resources.”

Chelsea Bray, a senior chemistry major and member of Tongesayi’s research group, participated in the project by organizing books based on subject content and packing accordingly. “There were over 500 books,” she said. “At times it was overwhelming and seemed like it was never going to get done in time.” Despite the chaos, Bray is grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the project. “It was such a great feeling knowing that all of the books being packaged were going to be put to use instead of just sitting on a bookshelf,” she said. “It definitely was an experience that opened my eyes to realizing that the little things in life, like books, that we take for granted are really things that should have more value in our lives.”

Tongesayi and participants are eager to send the packages and plan to have them ready for delivery during the upcoming spring break. “Words alone cannot express the impact that this donation will have at BUSE,” Tongesayi said. “I know the donation is going to be huge, it is going to be significant and I know that the entire BUSE community is going to be thrilled.”

In addition to the positive impact of the textbook donations, Tongesayi is hoping to establish a strong connection between the University and BUSE for future interactions. He said he is optimistic that both schools could benefit from a student exchange program. “I will be elated to see formal collaborative links established between faculty and Zimbabwe students at BUSE and those at Monmouth University on the research front,” he said. “This will expose BUSE students to authentic science research with modern and sophisticated inst rumentation, which will help them in their quest to secure graduate school places at U.S. universities.”

Student participants of the project also agree that they would be interested in helping with future donation projects whether these projects are within the school of science or a project expanded further throughout campus to include the entire University community. “I thought this was such an important project not only for the school of science at Monmouth, but for the whole University, and I do think our school should try to do another similar project,” Lechner said.

After helping with the project, Bray said that she’s supportive about repeating a similar project. “Books are so accessible to us that we don’t think twice when we open them up,” she said. “If this was a yearly project or even done every five years, think about how many lives we could touch. I would encourage everyone to do something to help anyone out, no matter how big or small.”