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Project Haiti

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    Rotaract members Erin Fonseca, Kristi Lenderman and Mildred Arcovedo collect donations for Partners in Health. (Photo by Carlos Barron)

Student organizations join together to support earthquake relief efforts

Thirteen different student organizations at Southwestern are teaming up to raise funds for victims of the earthquake in Haiti and to help others learn more about the poverty-stricken Caribbean island.

The effort was started by members of Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Rotaract and Circle K International. The groups have called their initiative “Project Haiti.”

“Usually, I feel like I cannot contribute when something horrific like this happens,” said Rotaract presdient Alexis Kropf. “However, as a part of a close-knit service organization, I knew we could play a role in helping those in dire need.

Other organizations participating in the project include the Student Peace Alliance, Student Congress, Student Foundation, SEAK, Office of Civic Engagement, Pan-Asia, Model UN, Sigma Phi Lambda, Omicron Delta Kappa and Feminist Voices.

One of Project Haiti’s main goals is to raise funds for Partners in Health, a Boston-based organization that has been providing medical care in Haiti for more than 20 years. They chose Partners in Health because of its history and current relationship with Haiti.

“We recognize that one of the most important resources organizations need now is money. An organization like PIH, which is extremely ethical and conscious of its short-term and long-term effects, will know best how to use monetary donations,” Kropf said.

The student organizations are taking turns collecting donations during lunch in the Campus Center Concourse. The Pan-Asian Organization also held a fundraising dinner Feb. 2 that featured local Asian cuisine from around Georgetown.

Project Haiti participants also are planning several events to raise awareness about the culture of Haiti and the socio-political issues facing the country. Onne of their first projects is to organize a series of round-table discussions on various topics related to Haiti. The discussions will begin Feb. 23 with a discussion of public health systems in Haiti and why the group decided to donate money to Partners in Health. That discussion will be followed by a talk by Professor Melissa Johnson titled “Haiti: The Legacy of the First Black Republic (1804).” These two discussions will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Dan Rather Room.

Although Project Haiti is a Southwestern-based project, students have caught the attention of local residents.

“We have had a member of the community attend our meeting, allowing us to connect with the Georgetown community and begin networking with the projects that are already taking place in town,” said APO president Cameron Navarro.

Anyone interested in helping with Project Haiti can e-mail Navarro at navarroc@southwestern.edu, Fernie Reyes at reyesl@southwestern.edu or Maureen Johnson at johnson6@southwestern.edu. Interested community members may also join planning meetings held on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. in Olin 323.

Also at Southwestern, a special offering to support relief efforts in Haiti was taken at the Feb. 4 Chapel Service. This offering will be sent to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which is providing health kits to assist in personal hygiene and prevent the spread of disease.

The Chapel Earthquake Relief Advocates also are collecting items to assemble health kits which will be given to UMCOR.Donation boxes will be placed in the residence halls, the Campus Center, the Fine Arts Building and the Cullen Building. Items needed for the kits include the following:

1 hand towel (15*25, no kitchen towels)
1 washcloth
1 regular-sized comb
One nail File or pair of fingernail clippers (no emery boards)
1 bar of bath soap (3-oz. minimum)
1 Toothbrush (no child sizes)
6 Band-Aids
$1.00 for the purchase of toothpaste

For more information, contact the Office of Religious Life at ext. 1527.

− Reese Cisneros ’10

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