Members of the Florida A&M community came together to send relief to the millions of people affected by the quake. President James Ammons helped form the committee by appointing Henry Kirby, dean of students and associate vice president, and Jeremy Levitt, associate dean for international programs and professor of international law at FAMU Law School in Orlando.
Since January, the FAMU Haiti Relief Committee, formed just days after the earthquake according to Kirby, has been hosting fund raising events. This includes the Haiti Relief Concert held April 15, 2010 that featured Common, Trey Songz, and Fabolous, which drew in the most money for the cause.
“The organization is still in existence,” said Kirby. “Currently, we are trying to get the student government to buy into some more events on campus. There’s nothing firm, but we are talking.”
In immediate response to the tragedy, the FAMU Haiti Relief Committee collected clothing and food to donate to the millions that were displaced. To date, the committee has raised $25,000 in funds to help the impoverished nation.
It was the individual efforts and small donations that Kirby considers to be the most successful.
“That was most rewarding,” he said. “The students that gave were giving things that they really in ordinary circumstances could not give.”
The committee has awarded a total of $25,000 to Haiti relief. They donated $15,000 to the Historically Black College/University (HBCU) Consortium and $10,000 to a United Nations sponsored orphanage in Haiti.
The goal of the HBCU Consortium is to raise $12 million dollars to construct a classroom building equipped to receive tele-courses taught by the faculty from the HBCUs, states a note written on FAMU’s Facebook page.
The money raised by the Consortium will also be used to fund scholarships for Haitians who want to attend the University of Haiti.
Andy St. Hilaire, representative for the FAMU Haiti Relief Committee, was deeply effected by the earthquake. After his father lost his home in Haiti, St. Hilaire knew he had to get involved to help in any way.
“I think the idea they were trying to get for the money was not to help something that was going to be short term,” said St. Hilaire. “They wanted to help something that will regenerate itself and knowledge and education will always regenerate itself.”
“It is good to see that someone who does care is trying to get the job done,” said Wendell Jean-Mary, second-year English student from Hollywood, Fla., of Haitian descent.