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Mark Arnoldy, a senior psychology major, Brett Forrest, a junior film major, and students from the University of Colorado Student Union are leading the effort. Arnoldy recently returned from Nepal where he founded an international organization dedicated to helping combat child malnutrition in Nepal. He based the idea for his organization on a similar program he learned about while traveling to Haiti in 2009.
"I want to congratulate Mark and Brett who are emblematic of our entire student body, which serves communities all over Colorado and the world," said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. "This campaign will provide vital resources to alleviate unimaginable human suffering, so I invite our entire CU community to donate what it can, and to pitch in with time and commitment to help magnify the 'CU Stands With Haiti' campaign."
The campaign, which coordinates the efforts of about 25 CU student groups, is modeled after a successful student campaign at Dartmouth University. Its main purpose is to consolidate the multiple student efforts already under way into a university-supported campaign and launch several large fundraisers in order to reach a $100,000 goal, according to Arnoldy.
"As I was returning from Nepal, I caught news of the earthquake in the Frankfurt airport," said Arnoldy. "I was in total disbelief. My previous time in Haiti taught me that the Haitian people are incredibly resilient, thoughtful and selfless. But it also allowed me to understand how truly vulnerable the nation was to something like this. When I heard the news, I knew it was time to act, and it was time to act in a very, very big way."
The group decided to support Partners in Health as the primary beneficiary of the campaign because they have been working in Haiti for more than 20 years and the health care model they created in Haiti has been praised and replicated in many countries around the world, according to Arnoldy.
"We also like Partners in Health because we know they are committed to a long-term vision of rebuilding a Haiti that isn't plagued with the structural factors that has made the country so vulnerable to exaggerated disasters year after year," Arnoldy said.
The major fundraising events tied to the campaign so far include:
-- A partnership with the CU Athletic Department to raise money at the CU vs. Missouri men's basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. Student volunteers will be stationed at Coors Events/Conference Center entrances to collect donations from fans. Fans can purchase tickets to the basketball game online here.
-- A screening of the documentary film "The Road to Fondwa," on Monday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., in Muezinger Auditorium E050. Admission is $5, and all proceeds will go toward the "CU Stands With Haiti" campaign. The film is about the resilience of the remote Haitian village of Fondwa.
-- A speaker series to inform students and community members about the current situation in Haiti, as well as Haiti's past, on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. in Eaton Humanities, room 250. Admission is free and donations are welcome. All proceeds will go toward the "CU Stands With Haiti" campaign. Speakers include Paul Casey, executive director of the Colorado Haiti Project and Blair Gifford, associate director for the Center for Global Health at the University of Colorado Denver.
CU-Boulder is one of more than 20 universities and colleges, including Duke University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California involved in a nationwide university challenge to raise funds for an effort called "Stand With Haiti." The money raised will be donated to Partners In Health. To make a donation visit assu.stanford.edu/haiti/partner_stats.php and click on the CU-Boulder fundraising box.
"I don't know how anyone could have heard news of the devastation in Haiti and decided to not do anything about it," said Forrest. "We are also looking to inspire a healthy competition between the Big 12 schools to see if they are willing to match or surpass our fundraising efforts. If these schools start similar campaigns, we have a national movement on our hands that shows how influential college students are in this country. It would be a truly inspirational message."
A complete list of CU-Boulder sponsored Haiti-related events can be found at www.colorado.edu/news/reports/haiti/. For more information about the campaign or to donate visit the group's Facebook page at http://bit.ly/CU-Stands-With-Haiti.
Mark Arnoldy, 417-861-8611
Brett Forrest, 719-338-8611
Greg Swenson, 303-492-3113