Project Sunset bringing nets, education to Africa

Nearly 120 runners and walkers sweated their way through five kilometers to raise money for mosquito nets and malaria prevention educational tools for people in Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Saturday, April 25, the newly formed registered student organization Project Sunset held its first “Sweat 4 Nets” 5K, raising $7,131.65.

The Valley Vanguard

Courtesy Photo | Sarah Lewan

Project Sunset, a newly formed registered student organization, hosted its first “Sweat 4 Nets” 5K on Saturday,
April 25. Though comprised of only six members, the organization raised more than $7,100 for mosquito nets and
education tools for people living in the African nations of Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Project Sunset was founded by SVSU nursing senior Sarah Lewan in 2012.

She began with a modest goal: to raise enough money to purchase 50 mosquito nets that she could distribute through mobile medical clinics on her first trip in Gabon during the summer of 2012.

Lewan partnered with E4 Project, a non-profit organization based in Colorado that, according to its mission statement, defends the cause of the poor and needy by empowering people who are living on the margins of society to thrive.

“Project Sunset really just tries to help African nations prevent malaria,” Lewan said.

To date, her program has raised more than $17,000 for nets and educational tools.

It wasn’t until this year, however, that Project Sunset became a registered student organization on SVSU’s campus.

Fulfilling the service project component of the Roberts Fellowship Program, Lewan and her group members, which include psychology senior Bonny Rye, graphic design senior Rachael Blaylock, computer information systems and Spanish senior Mindy Brandenburg, economics and creative writing senior Laurence Paterson, and criminal justice senior Emily Nelson, formed the official organization through SVSU and organized the 5K.

Lewan said she was blessed to have the support of her group members and 20 additional volunteers to help Saturday’s event go smoothly.

“I think the race definitely helped raise awareness about malaria, which is always objective number one,” she said. “We’ll try and make this 5K happen every year, because it’s been nothing but beneficial and inspiring.”

Although Rye became involved with Project Sunset as part of the Roberts Fellowship program, she is excited about the global influence the group’s work has.

“Reaching globally – not just to the community – is very important,” Rye said.

For more information about Project Sunset, visit

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