A nonprofit organization at Texas State is looking to capture national attention with a project that is intended to raise awareness about primate research and enclosed sanctuaries.
Kate Martin, president of Human-Environmental-Animal-Team, said the organization’s current project is called Plan It for the Apes, a spinoff of the film title Planet of the Apes. Its goal is to raise and donate $1,000 to Primarily Primates, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary in San Antonio.
H.E.A.T. is an organization that focuses on nonprofit services to better welfare for people, the environment and animals. Martin said H.E.A.T. wants to help raise student awareness about important organizations.
This is the first chapter-wide project for H.E.A.T. The organization consists of seven chapters, including one at the University of Texas at Austin. As a statewide chapter, H.E.A.T. plans to raise $10,000 total for Primarily Primates over the course of a year.
Primarily Primates takes primates from research labs, such as those for medical studies, after they are no longer needed. Primarily Primates’ goal is to build an open sanctuary for primates to live.
Michael Smits, resource environmental studies sophomore, said the money H.E.A.T. raises will pay for jungle gyms, trees and items to go inside the primates’ cages to enhance their lives. The primates will be living on a 10-acre plot of land.
Jared Evans, general studies junior, said there are only seven primate sanctuaries exiting in the world and San Antonio’s is one of the oldest.
The apes are currently housed in cages with closed tops, meaning the primates are not able to see the sky. The cages have concrete floors, which cause calluses to grow on their hands and feet, Martin said.
Martin feels the least students can do is help the primates, which have been medical research subjects, live in a better environment to prevent them from harming themselves or others due to their lack of social skills.
Most H.E.A.T. projects do not have a monetary goal, but this time members are trying to make more of an impact to hopefully get attention nationwide for the whole organization, she said.
The environmental organization hosts a series of projects in addition to Plan It for the Apes.
H.E.A.T. is raising money by hosting activities such as throwing pies at members on the Quad, selling bracelets and conducting guessing games that award winners with gift cards.
Martin said the bracelets are made by artisans in Costa Rica. The money that is not used as profit goes to the families of those who make the bracelets.
Every bracelet sold donates one dollar to any chosen organization, said Hannah Creasey, exploratory sophomore.
H.E.A.T. does both local and national projects, such as donating clothing to those affected by recent San Marcos floods and raising money to build floors in schools in Africa, Martin said.
Smits said H.E.A.T. will be participating in San Marcos’s Sights & Sounds of Christmas celebration by managing the echo stations. Members will sort recyclable trash, advise others on where waste belongs and pick up garbage during the event.
Martin said Plan It for the Apes is one of many projects H.E.A.T. has planned and there will be more 00
In the spring, H.E.A.T. will focus its efforts on Save More Dolphins, a campaign H.E.A.T. has begun. The money raised through the process of selling tank tops and bracelets will go toward ending dolphin poaching in Japan.
Martin said H.E.A.T. raises money through “positive activism” by avoiding scare tactics and telling people how donations can impact a given cause.
“We don’t want to bring people down with advertising,” Martin said. “We’re not going to make people feel bad about it. It’s all about making them happy to donate.”
Martin said H.E.A.T.’s biggest project will be its annual “H.E.A.T.stock,” which is its Earth Day concert series.
Local vendors will be at the concert series. Martin said they plan to celebrate Earth Day not by telling others how to live, but informing them of the benefits of using items such as reusable plastic bottles.
“We want it to where people can sit together and have conversations and talk about all the things were raising awareness about,” Martin said