Student, Women for Wild Lands hold fundraiser for Australian fires

Serena Bettis

Bushfires raging throughout Australia over the past few months made international headlines and caught the attention of people everywhere, including students at Colorado State University.

CSU sophomore and restoration ecology major Chloe Arduino is partnering with Women for Wild Lands to host a fundraiser for three nonprofit Australian organizations on The Plaza Feb. 11 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and at the Lory Student Center Flea Market Feb. 13.


“Over winter break, I was watching some videos (and) reading some articles with my family, and I remember feeling super helpless,” Arduino said. “I hate seeing all this happening.”

Caitlin Cunningham, a CSU senior interior architecture and design major who serves as co-president of Women for Wild Lands, said the club wanted to provide Arduino with a platform to support her fundraiser and have more “womanpower” to run the tables throughout the day. 

The fundraiser will be a pay-what-you-can style raffle, with a $1-$2 donation receiving one raffle ticket, a $3-$4 donation receiving two raffle tickets and a $5+ donation receiving three raffle tickets, Arduino said. 

The three prizes include two Wilmot ski lift tickets that are good for Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and Beaver Creek; two $50 gift cards to Rainbow Restaurant on Laurel Street; and 20 ski and snowboard rental tickets good for 20 days from Outpost Sunsport. 

It’s wild that it’s still happening, so it’s a good idea to keep (fundraising) up and keep spreading awareness.” -Caitlin Cunningham, co-president of Women for Wild Lands

Arduino said all businesses she contacted were eager to help her cause. 

“We like to offer donations to causes that we believe in and can relate to,” wrote Daniel Jones, the general manager of Rainbow Restaurant, in an email to The Collegian. “One of Rainbow’s main core values is to live environmentally connected. If we can help causes like this one to help fight unjust wildfires and hopefully save the habitat of animals, we have, in part, started to reach our goals.”

Arduino chose to donate the funds raised to the Australian Red Cross; the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service; and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

“I’m really passionate about wildlife, so that’s why there are two wildlife-specific organizations because I liked their mission statements,” Arduino said. “I looked into what they had done previously and what they are doing for the fires.”

Arduino said she especially liked that the Australian Red Cross is providing both physical and emotional support for fire victims. 

“You don’t think about how much probably goes into what those people went through, and what I really like was that (the Red Cross) offers therapy, first aid and they are traveling with survivors back to their homes to get their belongings,” Arduino said.


Cunningham and Arduino both hope to continue raising funds for victims of the bushfires and all that was destroyed in their path, as well as raise awareness of the bushfires. 

Despite recent rainfall, bushfires still continue to ravage Australia after already causing 33 fatalities and destroying over 11 million hectares of land, which is about the size of England, according to the BBC. Several sources, including one report from The Washington Post, claim that more than 1 billion mammals may have been affected by or perished from the bushfires.

“It’s wild that it’s still happening, so it’s a good idea to keep (fundraising) up and keep spreading awareness,” Cunningham said.

The fundraiser will accept cash and Venmo transfers, and raffle winners will be announced Feb. 14. 

Serena Bettis can be reached at or on Twitter @serenaroseb