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Students spring to action for Haiti

By Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal

2264 days ago   Article ID# 395947
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Save the Children

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE (The News Journal) - Moved by earthquake survivors' plight, colleges in Del. raise funds.

College students across the state have found a calling helping Haiti.

In Newark on Thursday, more than 600 University of Delaware students attended a concert organized by UniteD Students for Haiti to rebuild a hospital devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake that shattered the country.

Many walked into the event directly from class with backpacks on to sit on a floor of a Trabant University Center multipurpose room for the show. Among the booked performers was a two-man rap duo the Racket Boys and the UD dance team.

The event's organizers took donations at the door, sold raffle tickets and "Hope for Haiti" T-shirts, ultimately bringing in more than $7,000. Students are hoping to raise $50,000 to rebuild Haiti's Villa Hospital. They've already collected $30,000.

"It's really comforting to know there are so many people who care for others, even if they are thousands of miles away," said Rita Chang, a senior who is an organizer for UniteD Students for Haiti, a coalition of student groups that have sprung up at the university to help Haiti after the earthquake.

University of Delaware President Patrick Harker, who opened Thursday's event with remarks, was impressed by the students' "spontaneous outpouring" of support for Haiti. "A lot of people say they're going to do something, but never do," Harker said.

College students elsewhere in the state also have been moved to action. Students at Delaware State University in Dover organized a gospel concert to benefit Haiti on March 7.

And students and staffers at Wesley College in Dover have also organized efforts to help. They sold $1 hearts, collected donated clothes for the Red Cross and gave up meals. About 400 meals -- purchased through campus meal plans -- were skipped, and turned into donations of $1,055.55 that were given to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

"We are really proud the way the student body has come out and shown their support," said Amanda Kinkade, assistant director of residence life and housing for Wesley, who organized the effort. "They're giving up a meal and hopefully making the connecting that there are people in Haiti who don't have a choice."

Wesley's Office of Student Life and Black Student Union -- among other campus organizations -- are also organizing "A Step for Haiti," a benefit scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday in Wesley's Wells Theater. Tickets are on sale for $3 in the College Center Lobby. They will cost $5 at the door. All event proceeds will benefit Save the Children, a nonprofit working with children and families in Haiti.

Back at the University of Delaware, efforts have grown out of pre-earthquake fundraising efforts led by Matt Watters, a junior at the school. Watters worked in Villa Hospital last summer, helping in the maternity and emergency sections, assisting in everything from vaccinations to caesarean sections.
In the fall , Watters organized a battle of the bands and a model show, and lobbied organizations for donations, raising $20,000 to build a clinic in Mouillage Fouquet, a fishing village on Haiti's southern coast. Those efforts were parlayed into collaborations this semester after the earthquake.
Watters, who visited Haiti when he was 15 for an Eagle Scout project, said his efforts are driven by "the resiliency of the people. They still have hope," he said.

Once he and others raise $50,000 for Villa Hospital, Watters said, he plans to revive fundraising efforts for the clinic.

Copyright 2016 The News Journal   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 2264 days ago   Article ID# 395947

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