Students and faculty returning from winter break were quick to respond to the devastation wrought by the earthquake in Haiti, and their mission gained a new focus when the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement brought the groups together to coordinate campus efforts.
“Some students really want to help, but they don't know how they can get involved. Students should know that Suffolk University is working as ONE,” said senior Stephanie G. BonBon.
The disparate groups have now formed SU ONE: Helping Haiti Together to plan events and activities to raise awareness and funds.
The Student Government Association, Black Studies, Office of Diversity Services, S.O.U.L.S., Caribbean Student Network, Law school representatives, and faculty members were among those who met to discuss what sorts of informational events and fund-raisers they would hold and where donations would go.
Organizations to be funded
The groups determined that SU ONE will fund groups that were active in Haiti before the earthquake, working with underserved communities with the participation of Haitians. The donations will be equally divided among:
- Food for the Poor/Hope for Haiti
- JANBE: Bridges to Haiti
- Partners in Health
- St. Boniface Haiti Foundation
- Haitian Soccer Federation
Tri-colored ribbons and Haitian relief bracelets are being sold in exchange for donations, and a campus bottle and can drive will also raise funds for relief.
The Future Investors in Real Estate, or FIRE, group designed and began selling the red, blue, and yellow ribbons this week, raising $200 in one day.
"Red and blue are the colors of Haiti, and yellow stands for hope," said FIRE President Odie Fakhouri, whose organization will collaborate with S.O.U.L.S. in this fund-raiser.
Meanwhile, student groups are redirecting annual events to provide information about or support for Haiti:
- The Student Government Association will redirect proceeds from its annual Silent Auction from its own offers to the relief fund.
- The Black History Month Opening Ceremony sponsored by the Office of Diversity Services will feature Haitian-American poet, playwright, and performance artist Lenelle Moïse; 1-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, Donahue 403.
- The Black Student Union will hold a “Taste of Haiti” from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4. A $2 donation is requested.
- The Caribbean Student Network's 21st Culture Fashion Show on Saturday, March 6, will be dedicated to Haiti.
- The Black Law Student Association plans to host a series of campuswide educational events.
“The media show a lot of negativity happening in Haiti right now," said Bonbon. "Hopefully Suffolk students from Haiti can educate other students about what Haiti was like before the earthquake.”
Looking forward, student groups are exploring the possibility of traveling to Haiti to offer assistance when the rebuilding effort begins.
"Six months from now, the Haitian people will still need help, and we're here not just to help with immediate funds but for longtime relief,” said Bonbon.