Just a week after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought mass devastation to Haiti, people throughout the U.S. and the world are coming together to aid the impoverished country. But you don’t have to look far to find relief efforts in progress.
Students and staff members right here in the SCAD community are pitching in to offer assistance to the area near Port-au-Prince, in which tens of thousands were left dead and thousands of others remain injured, ill or homeless.
The university has established an Emergency Relief Fund to assist SCAD students, faculty and alumni affected by the tragedy. So far, SCAD has identified five students and three alumni with ties to Haiti, according to SCAD Atlanta Vice President P.J. Johnson.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti and their extended families worldwide,” Johnson said in an e-mail, adding that counseling services are also available to any student who seeks them.
Besides giving to the relief fund, students and faculty are also taking part in other drives, like donating $10 to the Red Cross by sending a text message from their cell phones. One, Dr. Stephanie Batcos, a professor of English and writing, has pledged to match any donations made by students currently enrolled in her courses.
Krystal Roberts, a first-year graduate writing student said she is giving through her church.
Having seen poverty first hand during a weeklong stay in Nicaragua, the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Roberts said she understands the importance of taking action for Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere.
“I felt like I needed to do whatever I could to help them,” said Roberts. She is rallying friends and classmates to help her collect clothes and nonperishable food items to be sent to Haiti by Norcoss-based Victory World Church, in association with Grace International. And if they can’t give, she said, “I just ask everyone to say a prayer for them.”
First-year arts administration graduate student Kelly Pierce said she is donating through Nich Cubed, the marketing firm where she works part time, and through her mother’s employer, Cigna.
“Even if I can only give a little bit, I feel like it’s an obligation,” Pierce said, adding that she’s glad to see other’s feel the same. “It’s nice to see people really coming together, even if they don’t necessarily have a personal connection.”
The outpouring of assistance is heartwarming, Morgan Cross agreed, but only if it keeps momentum.
“I think it’s great that everyone is helping, but what are they going to do when everyone leaves?” asked Cross, a third-year motion media design student whose family lives near the northern coast of Haiti, an area unaffected by the quake. “The reason this happened is because everyone is so poor there.”
Cross urges everyone continue to donate money to the Red Cross and other organizations to help rebuild Haiti, even after official relief efforts have ended.
“I don’t want them to get ignored again,” she said.
Donations to the SCAD Emergency Relief Fund can be made through the university Web site. If you would like to mail a check, send it to:
Savannah College of Art and Design
P.O. Box 3146
Savannah, GA 31402