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Home » Colleges, Financial Aid News

Students, Professors Volunteer for Haiti

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If you have been watching the news from Haiti for the last almost three weeks, you may have felt helpless. I know I have.

Sending off our donation was a step in the right direction, but the needs are so great and my check was such a very small drop in that giant bucket. In other words, I’m still looking for ways to help. Are you?

We know that college students are more and more inclined toward volunteer work, according to recent studies. And I have no doubt that times of natural disasters like Haiti motivate even more students to look for ways to help.

Enter Professor Deborah C. Jenson from Duke University. In the wake of the Haiti earthquake, Dr. Jenson developed a new course for Duke undergrads called, “Haitian Creole for the Haitian Recovery.” Her goal is get students involved in relief efforts by teaching them about Haiti’s language and culture. Recently featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education (membership required to view full article text), Dr. Jenson’s class is one-part Creole cultural sensitivity, two parts strategy for navigating Haiti to maximize relief effort.

Through the course, Jenson and her students have already launched some new relief projects, including a prosthetics drive and help for HIV-positive orphans.

In other college news, Lynn University is still reeling from the loss of four students and two faculty members, who were in Haiti on a volunteer humanitarian mission. They were trapped inside the Hotel Montana in Port au Prince when the earthquake hit and are presumed dead. The University has set up a fund to help students and family members who were affected by the earthquake.

If you are interested in finding a service project, talk to your university — many are coordinating them or could definitely point you in the right direction. Some examples include:

  • Morehouse School of Medicine established a fund to support the Atlanta office of CARE. The school is also sending medical faculty to Haiti.
  • Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is matching all student and faculty aid donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000.
  • Howard University students and faculty are coordinating relief donations for the American Red Cross.
  • Florida International University hosted a teach-in on Haiti on Saturday, exploring earthquake recovery and the rebuilding of Haiti’s infrastructure.
  • Student groups at Baylor University are collecting donations for a local missionary organization.

And these examples are just the tip of the college-based relief efforts for Haiti. What’s your college doing to support the people of Haiti? Are you planning to donate your time, money or talents for recovery in Haiti or anywhere else that people are in need?

(If you are thinking about giving, be sure to find out how volunteering can help reduce the cost of college, through programs such as AmeriCorps.)

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