UWRF students raise money for Haiti relief efforts
February 5, 2010
“I woke up to bouncing on my bed and the walls shaking … moving back and forth,” said UW-River Falls student Alicia Bartel about her experience living through the earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12. Bartel and her friend Paige Paulson, another UWRF student, ran out of their hotel room and saw that the pool had “ocean-like waves.” Bartel was volunteering at an orphanage in Fedja [FAY’-dja], 35 miles from Port-au-Prince, when the earthquake struck.
UWRF is coordinating several fundraisers for the Haiti Relief Fund. Over the past week, residence halls and the University Center have been collecting new and gently used items such as clothing, household items, accessories and books which they resold on Wednesday in a 2nd Hand Store Sale held in the Falcon’s Nest in the University Center. All money raised will be donated to the Haiti Relief Effort and the remaining items will be donated to Treasures of the Heart and Second Chances in River Falls.
Falcon Programs Community Service Programmer Ali Funk explained that the idea for the 2nd Hand Store Sale came together very quickly.
“College students don’t have a lot of money to give,” Funk said. She explained that this sale is a way for students to give, but also get in return. The sale went from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
Throughout the day, the sale raised $1,185.53. The dorms continued their coin wars through Thursday. Katie Quinn, student at UWRF, said she didn’t know about the sale until she saw the signs today and decided to stop in.
The UWRF Student Social Work Association (SSWA) has also been doing their part to raise money. Thursday, Jan. 28, members of SSWA worked at Bo’s ‘n Mine selling grilled cheese sandwiches for $2 each. The group raised over $90 over the course of the evening, and all of the money will be donated to the Haiti Relief Effort.
“Without the support of the River Falls community, we would have never been that successful,” Amy Anderson, a member of SSWA who helped cook and serve the sandwiches, said.
At the beginning of the night, SSWA member Anderson explained that a portion of the money raised would be donated to Haiti. However, throughout the night, the group decided to donate all of the money raised to Haiti, as they said they felt the people of Haiti needed it more.
“We would have obviously loved to have more people there, but with the cold temperatures, we didn’t expect the usual crowd to come up,” Tara Fisher, another member of SSWA, said.
Residence Life Area Coordinator Rob Andrews said that they hope to have more events later on in the semester to raise more money to help rebuild Haiti. They are going to see how well this first fundraiser goes before making decisions to hold another one.
“If every student donated a dollar or two, it wouldn’t take much money to make a big difference,” said Andrews.
The latest death toll estimate in Haiti is at 150,000, according to CNN.com. The United States raised approximately $317 million in the two weeks following the earthquake and has 17,000 military personnel in and around Haiti.
The earthquake in Haiti did not just affect the Haitian people, but also members of the River Falls community. Bartel created a lifetime goal from this experience; she said she wants to become trained in disaster relief. “You go down there trying to make things better,” Bartel said, “and I left when it was worse.”