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Vaughn Vandegrift

Vaughn Vandegrift

'SIUE Response to Haiti'
by SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift

January 22, 2010

The disturbing media images capturing the misery and havoc wrought by last week's earthquake in Haiti have touched us all. Wednesday's news of another tremor there only intensifies our concern and emphasizes the need for assistance.

Our natural instinct as individuals and as a University is to want to help in some way. Today, I am announcing a campus-wide fundraising initiative to be lead by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Vice Chancellor Narbeth Emmanuel is chairing a task force to coordinate the project and the distribution of donations. Several faculty, staff and students already have joined this effort.

The goal of this initiative is to raise funds to be sent to the American Red Cross and the organization known as Doctors Without Borders. During this past week, both organizations have done an incredible job helping the Haitian people. While we realize there are several organizations involved in reaching out to this island country during its time of tremendous need, we have chosen to focus our energies on these two. I understand that these are tough economic times, but we hope that everyone on campus, students included, will consider donating to this humanitarian cause.

In addition to the fundraising portion of this campus-wide initiative, the task force also is coordinating a series of "teach-ins" to raise awareness about Haiti and its history of struggle. Political Science Professor and Chair Denise DeGarmo is coordinating the "teach-in" schedule and already has reached out to several faculty members across campus who plan to help.

There are many on campus who already have begun fundraising to defray recovery and rescue operation costs, and these are greatly appreciated. Please communicate any details about these efforts to Dr. Emmanuel.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people of Haiti and the Haitian families in the United States, as well as to the military men and women, and other individuals and organizations/agencies who are making sacrifices to help in this monumental effort. Natural disasters highlight the fragility and vulnerability of human existence. We hope that in some small way, SIUE can make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering.

Further details with regard to how to donate or participate, as well as other information about the SIUE response, will be forthcoming from Dr. Emmanuel.

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