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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Norwich students spearhead polio awareness event

For Immediate Release
April 7, 2011

Contact: Daphne Larkin
802-485-2886 or 595-3613(m)

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Nine Norwich University students have spearheaded a major polio awareness event to be held in Montpelier on Tuesday, April 12, from 7-9 p.m. at the Capitol Plaza.

On that night Ramesh Ferris will present his story of surviving polio as part of his Cycle to Walk initiative.

“Polio still exists in four countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria, and while it still exists anywhere, it’s a threat to everyone, everywhere,” said Nicole DiDomenico, director of the Center for Civic Engagement.

The event, “Pushing Out Polio: An Evening with Survivor Ramesh Ferris,” was organized by NU Rotaract Club members led by NU junior and Rotaract President Ally Manousos whose fundraising goal is $20,000.

“I didn’t know much about polio at all or that it is a disease that is present now,” she said. “But his whole message is so inspiring; I learned about how easy it is to make a difference with this issue.”

Manousos, a born leader in service, will receive a “Commitment to Service Award” tonight in Montpelier from the Vermont Campus Compact.

“I’ve worked with Ally since she was a freshman, and even that early on, I knew she was going to do great things for Norwich, for the community and for any cause she saw as a worthwhile pursuit,” DiDomenico said. “She has led two teams to Thailand through NU VISIONS Abroad, served as a DREAM youth mentor for at-risk children in Barre, serves as a trained Sexual Assault Crisis Advocate and tutors kids weekly in math and science. She represents exactly what we hope to develop here at NU - leaders with a conscience, who are well-respected and trusted by their peers and who get things done.”

Through Manousos' efforts NU Rotaract (university) organized seven Rotary (business) clubs – Northfield; Barre; Central Vermont; Randolph; Waterbury; Montpelier and Lebanon-Riverside – around the “Pushing out Polio” event.

Tickets cost $20 per person and $35 per couple. Contact Nicole at 279-2371 or ndidomen@yahoo.com.

Other events to raise awareness of this issue included a collage contest; a free showing of “The Final Inch,” a documentary film about the current status of polio eradication efforts worldwide, and visits to Norwich by Ferris for the Norwich community.


Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army. Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the United States of America and the birthplace of our nation's Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu