Vice President for Student Affairs: How you can help Haiti, candlelight vigil scheduled

Published: January 14th, 2010

Category: Haiti Earthquake, InsideUF, Top Stories

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Members of the Community,

While UF and the rest of the world continue to grieve for the tragedy and loss in Haiti, UF students and student organizations have rallied together to support relief efforts. I’d like to commend these students for devoting their time, energy and talent to people who are in great need.

Gators United for Haiti is a student run philanthropic project, supervised and aided by UF administration. The group’s goal is to motivate students in the Gator Nation to raise $50,000 for Haiti relief efforts. All students and student organizations are invited to be a part of the project. So far, student groups involved are VISA, Club Creole, Student Government, STAAR, United Haitian Students of Florida, CaribSA, Alpha Phi Alpha, Association of Black Communicators, EBL, Iota Phi Theta, Hope for Haiti, FACES Modeling Troupe and the Black Student Union.

For information and updates regarding Gators United for Haiti, you can join the group on Facebook (as of Thursday afternoon there were already more than 400 members) or follow it on Twitter at GtorsUntd4Haiti.

Multiple student organizations will have collection sites around campus in areas such as Turlington Plaza, Plaza of the Americas and the J. Wayne Reitz Union. Donations will go toward Gators United for Haiti’s relief efforts. Additionally, students involved are in the stages of planning community outreach to support their cause and mission.

In addition, a candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, January 15 in the J. Wayne Reitz Union amphitheatre. The entire campus community is welcome to attend, and donation stations will be set up there as well. Gators United for Haiti accepts donations in the form of cash or checks (checks must be made out to the University of Florida). If you wish to make a donation by credit card, the student group recommends making it to the Red Cross or Yele, a grassroots organization based in Haiti and founded by Grammy Award winning musician Wyclef Jean.

Our students have many personal and academic connections to Haiti. For the first year of our Common Reading Program in 2007, all incoming freshmen were provided Tracey Kidder’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, which chronicles a doctor’s travels around Haiti. Through the experience of reading this book, those students came to understand more about Haitian culture and the developmental problems facing that country. Many of our students also have strong family and friendship ties to Haiti or are originally from there. I offer my greatest sympathies and hopes to all of them.

If you are a student in need of counseling or emotional support, please contact the Counseling and Wellness Center at 352-392-1575 or Student Health Services at 392-1171. Counseling services are located in Peabody Hall, room 301 and are available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Additional information regarding counseling services is available at www.counsel.ufl.edu. It is important to remember to reach out to your friends, family or counselors during this difficult time.

The university will continue to keep you updated on how you can help and where to go for support.

Thank you for coming together at this time,

Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin
Vice President for Student Affairs

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