In the wake of the many domestic natural disasters, it can be easily forgotten that one of our United States’ commonwealths, Puerto Rico, was catastrophically damaged by Hurricane Maria.

In response to this crisis, a group of students decided to try to make a difference on their own. With some students at the University having ties to Puerto Rico, they wanted to make an effort to help those that were left homeless and without clean drinking water.

Junior Christian Colon, the founder of the GoFundMe aimed at helping Puerto Rico, said, “I have family [in] Puerto Rico so I knew that I had to try and help in some way… there are lots of kids here at Fairfield with ties to Puerto Rico that rallied around me.”

One of these students is Armando Mujica ‘21. Mujica is from Puerto Rico and the majority of his family still lives on the island. He said that after speaking with his family and confirming that they were OK, he knew he had to get to work right away to begin providing aid to those affected by the hurricane.

“While conversing with my family, they told me all the problems they were having to find food, water and batteries; all the basic needs to survive,” said Mujica. After raising almost $3,900 through their GoFundMe, Colon and Mujica set out to decide where their money would be best received.

After extensive research, the decision was made to send all proceeds to an organization called United For Puerto Rico. This organization was created by the first lady of Puerto Rico, and according to their website, they have distributed thousands of pounds of, “first aid goods to those affected by the passing of Hurricane Maria.”

Although their GoFundMe may have come to a close, both Colon and Mujica encourage people to spread awareness of the still very desperate situation Puerto Rico continues to live in. “There are plenty of fundraisers still happening around Fairfield and awareness can always be spread by word of mouth,” said Colon.

Colon also highlighted that by spreading awareness for Maria, we can better prepare for the next natural disaster that may come to pass, whether it affects the United States or not. Both Colon and Mujica encourage students to reach out to them with any ideas they may have on how to employ strategies on how to better improve the conditions in Puerto Rico.

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