The earthquake in Haiti, while nearly 1,600 miles from North Dartmouth, has sent tremors through our own campus community. Our students, staff and faculty of Haitian descent who greatly contribute to the intellectual and cultural life of our community are fearful of the impact of this tragedy on their friends and family who are either visiting or still living in Haiti. The University stands ready to support our campus community members, their families and friends, and the people of Haiti as they confront the pain, loss and fear brought by this tragedy.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cynthia Cummings is coordinating outreach efforts to our students with Haitian backgrounds to ascertain if they are safe and to determine how the UMass Dartmouth community can be helpful to those who have been affected by this tragedy. She is also working with the Haitian-American Student Association, Student Senate, and other organizations to undertake fund raising activities, relief efforts, and other programs that will be beneficial to our students.
For those community members who would like to make an immediate and tangible contribution to the Haiti relief efforts our Haitian-American students have recommend the following organizations for consideration:
1. UMD HASA - HASA works with a women's organization in Haiti that will be providing direct relief. This organization has no web presence. Checks or cash can be dropped off with Barbara Costa in the Student Activities office. Make checks to HASA.
2. Yéle Haiti (www.yele.org/about-us) - is a grassroots movement that builds global awareness for Haiti while helping to transform the country through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment. Yéle's community service programs include food distribution and mobilizing emergency relief. Grammy-Award winning musician, humanitarian and Goodwill Ambassador to Haiti Wyclef Jean founded Yéle Haiti in 2005.
3. Partners in Development (www.pidonline.org/Home.html) - This is the organization our students partner with for the community service trip they have been making each summer.
Meanwhile, our campus radio station -- WUMD (89.3 FM and online at www.893wumd.org) -- has begun running public service announcements urging listeners to get involved in the Haiti relief effort and warning of solicitation scams. The station has posted a list of reputable relief organizations on its site.
We will also be building forums for dialogue on this tragedy on the University's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/umassd) and our blog, the Campanil-E (campanile.blogs.umassd.edu).
Finally, I would urge anybody who has a concern about a student, family member or friend who may have been in Haiti at the time of the earthquake to contact Cynthia at 508.999.8601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us keep the people of Haiti, and all those rushing to their aid, in our thoughts and prayers.
Jean MacCormack, Chancellor