By: Brandon Gilett

Algonquin is gearing up for the Spread the Net challenge this year, hoping to outdo last year’s campaign. In the 2012-2013 competition, Algonquin raised $40,396 for Spread the Net, beating out every other school in the country and bringing Rick Mercer to the campus.

Some notable differences in this year’s campaign centre on more student involvement. The planning committee is comprised entirely of students in varying programs, whereas it was previously run by professor Lisa Roots and her police foundations students.

Spread the net was launched in 2007 by Rick Mercer and the Belinda Stronach Foundation and is designed to raise money for mosquito bed nets to prevent the spread of malaria in Africa.

The new initiative is designed to reach out all over the college to get students working together and networking in hopes of shattering last year’s fundraising record.

According to Connor Biddiscombe, 20, a police foundations student, the campaign will begin with a bake sale Oct. 1. It will be followed by familiar fundraisers like lollipop sales and a walk-a-thon later in the year. As for any previews of new events, the committee was tight-lipped for now.

“We can’t comment at this time, wouldn’t want to give it away,” said Biddiscombe.

Roots led the campaign last year with staggering success despite the team’s late start in the nationwide fundraiser. According to Roots the college exploded with interest and support, bringing everyone on campus together for a greater purpose, networking with each other and being a part of the greater good for the world.

“I think this year’s campaign will further demonstrate that Algonquin College continues to care about and impact communities outside of our own, both locally and globally,” said Roots.

Another change in Spread the Net is the sponsorship transferring from the Belinda Stronach Foundation, to Plan Canada. The new sponsor, best known for the “Because I’m a Girl” initiative, was founded in 1937 and has helped over 170 million people with their main objective being changing the lives of children.

To date the Spread the Net initiative has raised enough money to purchase about 563,000 bed nets for the program.