Roanoke College Sponsors Haiti Relief Efforts

SALEM, Va. - Roanoke College is responding to the current crisis in Haiti by offering numerous opportunities for the campus community to help with relief efforts. A variety of groups and organizations are sponsoring events to benefit the earthquake victims.

Students from Dr. Chad Morris's freshman intellectual inquiry class, "Do Unto Others, An Anthropology of Service," organized "Team Haiti" after a class discussion about the disaster. The volunteer group is raising funds for the nonprofit organization Partners in Health, which has an existing presence in Haiti and whose goals include bringing medical services to those most in need.

Team Haiti raised $1132 for PIH during a fundraiser at a local Kroger store and received additional donations during a door-to-door collection in the freshman residence halls. The students also partnered with the College's dining services for a meal exchange event. For two days, students were encouraged to donate one or two of their dining hall meal credits to PIH, for which the College contributed four dollars per meal. Over 1,000 meals were exchanged for a College donation in excess of $4,000.

The history of Partners in Health is recounted in Pulitzer Prizewinner Tracy Kidder's bestselling book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House, 2003). The book was a freshman reading selection at Roanoke College in 2005.

Team Haiti students also have written solicitation letters to local businesses and hope to receive additional contributions in response. Supporting Team Haiti's efforts are the chaplain's office, the Center for Community Service, the sociology organization Alpha Kappa Delta and Students Interested in Health Careers, the campus health professions club.

Morris, an assistant professor of anthropology, says, "I was impressed by the number of students who wanted to do something to help in the midst of the hectic beginning of the term...A couple of the students have really grabbed the baton and run non-stop. I'm incredibly proud of them."

In addition to Team Haiti's efforts, the Lutheran Student Movement is sponsoring "Here I Stand," a shoe and sock drive. They will distribute donations through the Village of Hope, a non-denominational Christian organization focused on helping the children of Haiti. The student group will be collecting new and gently used shoes and new socks through January 29.

The College's Catholic Campus Ministry is raising money to assist Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church with their ongoing ministry in Haiti. The OLPH Haiti Project pairs the Salem parish with St. Gabriel's, a rural parish northeast of Port au Prince in the town of Lascahobas. Local physician and project director Tom Fame notes that food and building expenses are likely to skyrocket as a result of the earthquake disaster. He says, "The money [received] during this time of giving is going to help...provide school lunches to the 1,000 students at these rural schools."

In addition to these initiatives, the chaplain's office is receiving donations to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Disaster Response Fund, 100% of which will be used for immediate relief and ongoing recovery in Haiti.

The College invites the local community to join in the campus efforts. All items and monetary donations can be dropped off or sent directly to the chaplain's office at 221 College Lane, Salem, VA, 24153. Online contributions to PIH can be made at www.pih.org. For more information, please call (540) 375-2300 or contact Rev. Paul Henrickson at henricks@roanoke.edu.

Roanoke College, an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a classic, undergraduate setting. Roanoke prepares students for their futures through its commitment to providing a true classic college experience. Roanoke is one of just 276 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the Southeast."

For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.

Released: January 23, 2010
Contact Name: Public Relations
Contact Phone: (540) 375-2282
Contact Email: gereaux@roanoke.edu