Vive Haiti Continues Fundraising Efforts to Support Haiti Earthquake Relief
By Jisoo Lee '13, Managing News Editor
Last Friday, while the Lord Jeffs and the Ephs took a halftime break from their basketball game, Association of Amherst Students President Peter Tang ’10 announced that Williams College had won the weeklong friendly fundraising competition against the College to support victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Williams raised $10,203 to the College’s $7,500.08. The results were closer in terms of money raised per capita, though Williams still had the edge with $4.59 raised per student compared to the College’s $4.42. Sponsored by student-led project Vive Haiti, the College raised money through the sale of wristbands, requests for donations and the “Seelye Snowball” benefit. The announcement came one day after the candlelight vigil held at the War Memorial to honor victims of the earthquake, where roughly 250 members of the College congregated to pray and hear songs by a cappella groups.

Though no final decision has been made on where the raised money will be sent, Vive Haiti has identified several potential organizations. “We are still soliciting feedback [and] suggestions from the Amherst community,” said organizer Kate Berry ’12.

After evaluating over 30 organizations, the list has been narrowed to Grassroots International, The National Congress of Papaye Peasant Movement, the Lambi Fund for Haiti, SEEDS for Haiti and Fonkoze as well as The Global Fund for Women’s Crisis Fund.

“We will research these organizations and consider additions throughout the semester,” explained organizer Elias Aba Milki ’10. “We have been and will continue to be open to any recommendations of organizations to add or remove from the current list… Recently, a group of student senators signed a letter criticizing our consideration of Grassroots International and demanded that we remove it due to its political motivations and its work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I am glad that students are looking at these organizations and doing their research. Unfortunately, the signatories of the letter didn’t pick up on the fact that 100 percent of aid given to Grassroots International will go into rebuilding Haiti and not the other causes that GI is involved in. I hope to continue conversations with concerned students as we adjust our list.”

Vive Haiti has several events lined up for the rest of the semester to further its fundraising efforts. In the coming weeks, the group will begin fundraising amongst faculty and continue to sell wristbands at events. “We hope to work with different groups to raise funds through events in the remainder of the semester, including CaribFest and Multicultural Alumni Weekend,” said Aba Milki.

Moreover, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a music and jazz fundraiser for Haiti in the Friedmann Room. Berry added, “If anyone is interested in putting on an event to support Haiti, please do so! We’re here as a resource to help with the planning and execution process, if anyone wants it.“

Issue 15, Submitted 2010-02-17 20:20:55