Stanford Shows Ingenuity in Haiti Relief

Following the devastating Haitian earthquake and aftershocks, multiple on-campus organizations are responding to Haiti’s need for aid.  Donations, stemming from the ASSU to individual students, are all part of Stanford’s response to an international crisis.

The ASSU announced on Sunday, January 17 that it had joined with Partners in Health to participate in a national college competition to raise money for earthquake relief.  The ASSU set a goal of $50,000 and encouraged each student to donate five dollars.  In addition to funds raised by Stanford students, FACE AIDS agreed to match funds up to $50,000.  As of Sunday, January 24, Stanford had raised a total of $50,858, with over 974 individuals donating.

To encourage students to donate, the ASSU established a Dorm Donation Challenge.  Running from Sunday, January 17 through Wednesday, January 20, the competition ended with Casa Zapata bringing in a winning amount of $2,830.

The Stanford Hospital and Clinics, in conjunction with the Stanford School of Medicine, established its own fundraiser for Haiti, with donations benefiting the Hospital Albert Schweitzer.  Hospital Albert Schweitzer is currently the only functioning hospital in the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince. Stanford Hospital will match funds up to $25,000.

Joshua Wong ’10 chose to assist the Stanford Hospital in its efforts by selling Sprinkles cupcakes on campus.  As an associate theme director for Storey House (the human biology themed house on campus), he organized a house-wide event in which students could learn about issues related to human biology in Haiti.

“[The] mission of human biology is to create interdisciplinary solutions to world- wide events,” said Wong.  Storey House raised $300 for Haiti by asking for $5 donations in exchange for a Sprinkles cupcake.  Wong hopes that other houses can “tweak this model” to encourage students to find easy ways to donate to Haiti.

In true Stanford style, entrepreneurial students are developing their own creative ways to encourage fellow classmates to donate to Haiti.  Utilizing popular aspects of campus like Stern Late Night and bicycles, these proactive individuals are creating simple ways for students to incorporate philanthropy as part of their normal expenses.

The Dish at Stern Late Night hosted a fundraiser, “Heal Haiti,” on Friday, January 22 from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., organized by the Stern Dining Ambassadors with assistance by the ASSU.  FACE AIDS agreed to match funds, leading to a grand total of $5,330 raised for Haiti relief.

Students received free ice cream for donating either online with credit card or with cash donations.  Additionally, silent auctions for items like lunch with Dean Julie or President Hennessy, custom designed Vans, and cooking lessons with a Stern Dining Hall chef were offered.

Music, dance performances, and poetry accompanied the evening to create a coffee house feeling in Stern Dining Hall. Taylor Winfield ‘13, head of Stern Dining Ambassadors, said lower prices on meal options were offered “in hope that students would donate the money saved to the cause.”

While the Stern Dining Ambassadors capitalized on the college phenomenon of late night, Timothy Tam ’11 hopes to utilize his cycling experience in order to raise $1,000 for Haiti.  Tam is currently repairing bikes and selling parts, with all profits donated to UNICEF.  After receiving over 40 requests, Tam enlisted the help of the Stanford Cycling Team to assist him.

“Stanford is a really compassionate campus,” Tam said.  “People are donating extra because they know it is going to a good cause.” Tam’s program receives assistance from the Campus Bike Shop which offers discounted products and services for Tam’s customers. The Campus Bike Shop, Parking & Transportation Services, and Tam hosted a fender installment booth in White Plaza on Monday, January 24, 2010.

With such an active campus, the difficulty is not finding an organization to donate to, but rather deciding how to donate.

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