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HBCUs Attempt to Aid Haitian Students (1557 hits)

By Antonio Hairston -- Black College Wire

Gregory Souvenir/The Famuan
Rodeline Felix of the Haitian Cultural Club

FAMU Raises Funds for Haitian Student in Need

During a Haiti relief program in Lee Hall, a Florida A&M staff member asked the crowd to raise their hands if they have not been able to contact their families. A majority of people did. More than 150 students said they have not been able to contact relatives in Haiti.

Just four days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Haiti, FAMU and campuses across the nation started collecting relief funds.

On Jan. 15, hundreds of FAMU students, faculty and staff attended the meeting, not leaving until some progress was made.

Last week, President James Ammons formed the Haiti Relief Planning Committee to ensure money raised on campus will go to Haiti and those students in need. Relief efforts have started. FAMU volunteers took donations at the door during the men and women’s basketball games Saturday.

Students donated gallon water jugs, canned food and supplies for the cause to drop-off centers located around campus.

An area for students to contact their family via phone or Internet will be available starting January 19 at the William Gray Call Center.

Speakers included Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris, Henry Kirby, associate vice president for student life and Saundra Inge, FAMU’s director of student activities.

“These are very sad times for us as a university and as a people,” said Hughes-Harris. She encouraged students at the beginning of the meeting not to leave until ideas and innovative ways to help Haiti were brought to light.

Hughes-Harris then thanked the different campus organizations like the Haiti Relief Fund, which was established by FAMU to fundraise and carry out the efforts in Haiti.

“We must come together as a university and unite in times like these,” said Kirby at the relief address meeting.

Kirby said that many of the outreach tools implemented to aid Haiti are reminiscent of what the university did after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

Inge said she would allow and support all campus organizations conducting events to raise money and help with relief efforts.

“I ask that clubs and organizations combine and work together, put aside your differences and let’s help in as many ways as possible,” Inge said to the packed auditorium.

Haitian students thanked their peers for their support and love.

Sophomore business administration student Elouina Examtus said she was proud to hear how her university was lending a hand to her country.

“Everybody’s voice was heard and I think that is one thing that is important so we can efficiently get help to the people of Haiti,” said the 19 year-old from Miami.

For more information on how to donate or volunteer visit the Web site www.famu.edu/Haitirelief.

The U.S. government hotline to find out about loved ones is 1-888-407-4747.

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Antonio Hairston writes for The Famuan, the Florida A&M University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Jan. 21, 2010
Posted By: Jehan Bunch
Friday, January 22nd 2010 at 10:56AM
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