Peter Caty/The Mirror

Exactly two weeks after the devastating earthquake felt around the world hit Haiti, Fairfield community members gathered to discuss ideas for fundraising.

Tuesday’s “Haiti, a Time for Healing, Hope, and Action” event, led by the Center for Faith and Public life and JUHAN (The Jesuit University Humanitarian Action Network), was a day-long teach-in held in the lower level BCC.

“Basically JUHAN decided that Haiti’s needs extend beyond damage from the earthquake,” said Katie Cincotta ‘10, the University’s Amnesty International Club President.

“The hardships that Haiti is facing due to the disaster are magnified due to the pre-existing conditions within the country. The point of the teach-ins on Tuesday are to educate the campus on some background on Haiti, and to raise awareness on what is actually happening there,” Cincotta added.

Nicole Kansagra, an Americorps volunteer in the Center for Faith and Public Life, is working with JUHAN on campus by trying to spread information about fund-raising opportunities to the Fairfield community. The audience at today’s event was encouraged to speak out about possible fund-raising efforts that may come to fruition through additional programming later in the semester.

“The goal of today’s event is to have any student who enters the BCC have some exposure to information about the history, culture and current crisis in Haiti. We hope to attract a significant number of students, faculty, and staff to not only raise awareness, but to encourage them to brainstorm other ways to meaningfully engage in relief efforts with a long-term commitment in mind,” said Kansagra.

Nicole Kansagra, an Americorps volunteer in the Center for Faith and Public Life, is working with JUHAN on campus by trying to spread information about fund-raising opportunities to the Fairfield community. The audience at today’s event was encouraged to speak out about possible fund-raising efforts that may come to fruition through additional programming later in the semester.

“The goal of today’s event is to have any student who enters the BCC have some exposure to information about the history, culture and current crisis in Haiti. We hope to attract a significant number of students, faculty, and staff to not only raise awareness, but to encourage them to brainstorm other ways to meaningfully engage in relief efforts with a long-term commitment in mind,” said Kansagra.

Dieudonne Antoine, the vice president of the Haitian American Leadership Council, was one of the speakers during the afternoon. “It’s times like this you find out who is really your friend and in this community, we really see that you are our friends,” he said.

There are a number of student groups — such as JUHAN, Students for Haiti, FUSA and IRHA — who have been meeting and will be organizing fund-raising efforts throughout the semester.  In addition, there is a service learning course will focus on Haiti this semester.

Freshman John Sullivan created the Fairfield for Haiti Facebook page. After attending some of the events on Tuesday, he said, “I was honestly moved, I learned a lot today, that more than half of the population that were affected by the earthquake were under 25,” he said.

“I feel like there might not be enough people here, and I feel like a lot more people would be moved if they were here,” continued Sullivan.

“There is an opportunity to extend our engagement with learning about and responding to the Haiti crisis into next academic year as a part of the Global Citizenship focus,” said Kansagra.

Gaelle Isazu contributed to this article.

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