Pet a goat, change a life? Stanford students, faculty and staff did just that Thursday, as the Stanford Goat Project (sponsored by the Stanford InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship) brought four goats (and one baby yak) to campus as a fundraiser for World Vision, a relief agency that donates dairy goats to impoverished areas.
According to World Vision, goats provide protein-rich dairy products, extra income through market sales and better fertilized crops.
The live animals were brought in to attract attention as well as help participants make the connection between the fundraising and the end result.
"We wanted to engage the campus with the issue of hunger and poverty," event organizer Nate Chambers said. "Goats as gifts are tangible, when giving money can be so abstract," he said.
For $5, participants could enter the animal pen and pet the likes of Darcy the black-and-white goat or Yakoo the 10-month-old yak. For $10, they could pose with the animals for a photo.
Each $75 raised buys one goat for a person or family in need, along with training on caring for the goat, Chambers said.
Some school departments collected funds to sponsor goats as a group, such as the Physics department, which raised enough for three.
The Goat Project has so far raised enough for more than 50 goats, according to Chambers. The group hopes the event will become an annual tradition.
The live animals were lent to the event by East Bay-based Goats R Us, which raises goats to work as eco-friendly landscape managers. And the pet yak?
"Consider the yak eye candy," Chambers said.