Purdue to present Haiti relief donation to Red Cross
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's Dean of Students Office will present a donation of about $14,000 to the local Red Cross at an event Thursday (April 29) at the Dauch Alumni Center.
Robert Wollenburg, executive director of the Tippecanoe county chapter of the American Red Cross, will accept the check at the presentation, which will start at 11 a.m. The amount of money represents the total funds raised by the Purdue University community so far for Haiti relief.
The event will feature speakers, including Branly Eugene, a Haitian doctoral student of agronomy; Brad Krites, president of the Purdue Student Government; and Pablo Malavenda, associate dean of students.
"It's an honor for us to present the check to the Red Cross," Malavenda said. "Our students have been on top of this crisis raising money right from the time the earthquake took place. Numerous student entities have continued raising money over the past months, and this event is the culmination of their tireless efforts."
Purdue groups began raising money for Haiti just two days after the Jan. 12 earthquake claimed nearly 300,000 lives and displaced about 1.3 million people.
The Purdue Haiti Relief Fund was set up to receive donations from the university community. Numerous student organizations also began raising money through events and setting up donation tables around campus. Some of those student groups were Purdue Organization for Labor Equity, Delta Sigma Pi, Multicultural Mujeres, the Consumer and Family Science Student Council, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Students for Justice in Palestine, War on Hunger, Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society, Engineers without Borders, Tech Student Council, Caribbean Students Association, South Asian Student Alliance and Purdue Student Government.
In addition, Purdue and the Voilà Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, have partnered to fund three years of graduate study for two Haitian students to study earth science at Purdue starting in fall.
Eugene, 37, whose cousin died in the earthquake, said he was overwhelmed at the initiative Purdue has taken to assist his fellow Haitians.
"The amount of the money raised is important, but the thought that goes into it matters more," he said. "After all, it's a choice people here are making to help someone else in need thousands of miles away."
Eugene said Thursday's event is particularly well-timed because the needs of the displaced Haitians will soon be aggravated with May's start of the rainy season, followed by hurricane season.
"Most of the people now are living under tarps, which will not endure torrential rain," he said. "So their problems will double because not only will they have to meet their daily needs, they also will have to protect themselves from the weather."
Writer: Soumitro Sen, 765-496-9711, email@example.com