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Eastern's "Help for Haiti" a Success

  Written by Kate Harner

 

haiti- jordan crying- awesome shot.JPG

Jordan Lorrius '10, along with Peter Gamble '12 and Samantha Goodale '13, performed "Haiti Canpe," which received a standing ovation and brought many to tears as Lorrius, a Haitian student, shared that he lost his aunt in the earthquake.

haiti-flag[1].gifWillimantic, CT - The evening of Feb. 5 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the

Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University was filled with emotion as

students, faculty and staff, and residents from the Willimantic community and surrounding

towns showed their support for the Haitian people in the aftermath of the devastating

earthquake that shook the island on Jan. 22.  "Help for Haiti: A Night of Reflection,

Inspiration and Action!" brought with it speeches, stories, tears, musical and dance

performances and a silent auction. The event raised $1,000 for Haitian relief.

            "This night was an example of the true essence of higher education," said Monica Rochon '09, Help for Haiti organizer and one of Eastern's AmeriCorps VISTA Community Service Coordinators. "Collaboration, participation, engagement, reflection and action shined brightly during the event."

            haiti- dancer updated.JPGEastern Executive Vice President Michael Pernal brought greeting on behalf of President Elsa M. Nuñez. Judy Secord, former member of the board of directors of the Haitian Ministries of the Norwich Diocese and now a volunteer for the organization, told the audience that in spite of the earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people and left more than three million homeless and desperate for food, water, medicine and clothing, "the Haitian people still have a positive attitude and generous, gracious spirit."

Milton Jackson, programming assistant in Eastern's Intercultural Center, emceed the event and read an original poem inspired by the earthquake. Marcus O'Neal '12, a resident assistant, also read an original poem titled "After Disaster," which encouraged the audience to actively continue volunteering in their communities.

            Father Larry LaPointe of Eastern's Campus Ministry led the audience in an extended moment of silence, asking each member "to remember that silence is no longer comforting to Haitian citizens, who are afraid to sleep inside if another earthquake hits."

 

Thumbnail image for haiti-choir.JPGPaul Cameron, adjunct professor of performing arts, presented three songs performed by the United Voices of Praise (UVOP), Eastern's gospel choir. Maiyah Gamble-Rivers '12 and Whitley Mingo '12 of Eastern's Anointed Power of Praise dance team performed to Smokie Norful's "I Need You Now."

            English Professor Raouf Mama interacted with the audience as he presented "Story Time." One of the lessons in his story was that "the richest people are the people who need the least."

Jordan Lorrius '10, along with Peter Gamble '12 and Samantha Goodale '13, performed "Haiti Canpe," which received a standing ovation and brought many to tears as Lorrius, a Haitian student, shared that he lost his aunt in the earthquake.

            After the performances and presentations, a silent auction was held. Participants bid on items ranging from a Cafémantic gift card to gift baskets to a professional photography shoot. Eastern's Education Club, local businesses and community members donated items for the auction.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for haiti- tummers,zambrano rochon.JPG Health and Physical Education Professor Nanette Tummers, left, and AmeriCorps VISTA Community Service Coordinators Beth Zambrano and  Monica Rochon '09, who organzied Help for Haiti, pose for a picture during the "Help for Haiti" event, which raised $1,000.

"Help for Haiti: A Night of Reflection, Inspiration and Action!" was sponsored by Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, Office of Housing and Residential Life and the Intercultural Center. Eastern staff members and students from Men Achieving Leadership, Excellence and Success (MALES); Females Excelling, Maturing to Achieve Leadership, Excellence and Success (FEMALES); the Peace and Human Rights Club; Housing and Residential staff and international students also supported the effort.

            Eastern's Center for Community Engagement will host more relief efforts for Haiti in the coming months. Eastern's Performing Arts Department is also planning a concert in Shafer Hall on Feb. 28.

 

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