Southeastern community raising funds, collecting supplies for Haitian relief
Contact: Rene Abadie
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(1) Carley Bushnell, a senior business major from Baton Rouge, collects a donation from Sandra Valdes of Hammond as part of Southeastern Louisiana University’s “Southeastern Supports Haiti” campaign. All university donations will be given to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to support Haitian recovery. "I think it is very important to help out the less fortunate right now," Valdes said.
(2) Miss Southeastern Louisiana University 2010 Lacey Sanchez of Baton Rouge, right, collects donations for the “Southeastern Supports Haiti” campaign from students gathered in the Student Union mall on Tuesday (Jan. 26). From left are: Sandra Valdes of Hammond; Abby Sease and Alyssa Ranzino of Mandeville.
HAMMOND – Students, faculty and staff at Southeastern Louisiana University are combining their forces to send aid to the people of Haiti, university officials announced today.
The campaign, “Southeastern Supports Haiti,” combines a traditional fund raising campaign to be undertaken by students with the collection of items to make small health and hygiene supply kits to be sent directly to the Haitian people.
“We all have seen the devastation that the nation of Haiti has endured, and you can’t help but be moved by their plight,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain. “Our students wanted to do something for the Haitian people, just like so many people came to the aid of our region following Hurricane Katrina.”
“Southeastern Supports Haiti” is being coordinated by a task force headed by Vice President of Student Affairs Marvin Yates and Celina Echols, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development.
“After Hurricane Katrina, people from all over the world responded to the needs of our neighbors affected by that catastrophe,” Yates said. “We’re responding in the same way to help a nation that was already poverty stricken and is facing the need, not just for immediate assistance, but for years of rebuilding.”
Yates said Southeastern has partnered with a national non-profit organization, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), to use the funds in relief efforts and to distribute the kits directly to the people of Haiti. UMCOR, he said, has already procured customs clearance to ship the kits and is having success getting them to the people of Haiti.
The campaign started Jan. 26 and will run through Feb. 11. Students from various organizations will be collecting cash donations at the War Memorial Student Union and other locations on campus and at the Lions and Lady Lions upcoming basketball games at the University Center. In addition, students and faculty at the Southeastern Laboratory School are planning several different approaches to raising funds for the relief effort.
Faculty and staff are organizing to purchase items to be used in one-gallon kits that can be supplied to individuals. The kits will contain a variety of personal items, such as a hand towels and wash cloths, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and other items.
“I anticipate strong faculty support for this initiative,” said Joseph Burns, associate professor of communication and president of the Faculty Senate. “Many of us have contributed to Haitian relief efforts; putting these kits together, however, is something very tangible. It’s something we can see, something we can touch. I can see the help it can bring to someone, even if it’s just for a short while.”
The campaign is open to donations from the community, either of funds or items for the kits, Yates said. For more information, individuals should contact Jim McHodgkins, assistant vice president for student affairs at 549-3792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.