Help Jack's Students Get to India!

Hi friends -- 

First off, I am hyper aware that there are about a million great causes that you could/should be supporting with your hard-earned $$$, and that plenty of you also don't have disposable income in the first place. So this is a low-pressure ask. Maybe not the most tactical way to start off a fundraising appeal, but I think it's important to note that, right off the bat.

This March, for the second year in a row, I'm going to be bringing 14 undergrad students from La Salle University to northern India, as part of a Tibetan studies course. The course is a whirlwind of history, religious studies, and contemporary politics -- mixed in with critical theory about Western engagements with "Tibet" (the geographic region, people, and object of Inji [uh... loosely translated as "westerner/white people"] fantasy).

And then we spend Spring Break 2018 in northern India.

On March 10, we will kick off our journey by attending the Tibetan Uprising Day rally in NYC, and then hopping on a plane to Delhi. After a day there, acclimating, napping, seeing the sights, and visiting the Tibetan settlement Majnu-ka-tila, we'll take a bus north to Bir, and then finally to Dharamsala -- where we'll be spending the bulk of the rest of the visit. In Dharamsala, we'll be meeting with human rights activists, authors and artists, religious leaders, and officials from the Tibetan diaspora government. If we've been in touch during the past two decades, you might know how important learning about Tibet has been for my personal and political development -- and it's a great joy to be able to bring my own students to Dharamsala, twenty years after my first visit as an undergrad. Who knows, maybe some of them will end up blacklisted from China to! Wait... O_O

But we need some money. As the defacto travel agent for the trip, I've reduced the cost as much as I can. Students are asked to contribute $2,000 each -- this covers all transportation, housing, host fees, and some meals. However, the application process for this course is open to all students, regardless of their financial situation. Put simply, I'm not going to teach a course that only wealthy students can take. At least in this course, class privilege shouldn't determine access to education.

Some of my wonderful students just can't afford the full $2,000 -- even with our graduated payment plan. They are largely responsible for funding their own undergrad education (and lives), and should be rewarded for this, rather than penalized. So we need more cash.

I've already put a bunch of my own money into this course, but I'm not able to swing the entire balance of what's needed. The students are fundraising on their own, are picking up extra work shifts, and some have received some generous support from their major departments.

In a perfect world, the university would have dedicated funds to help students with demonstrated need make up the balance -- but no. So I'm cashing in some of my friend chips, and asking folks to offer whatever you can. Like I said at the beginning, I'm not trying to guilt anybody into this, so no worries about me side-eyeing you if you aren't able to give. I probably haven't given to something you've posted in the past.  :/

Thanks a million for your help! My students are wonderful, and I'll makes sure they update donors from India, so you can see your money at work (without shaming them, I promise). 

All best,


  • Sarah DeVan 
    • $100 
    • 27 mos
  • Roberta Ortegren  
    • $500 
    • 28 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 28 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 28 mos
  • Blake Walsh 
    • $100 
    • 28 mos
See all


Jack Downey 
Philadelphia, PA
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