Final Haiti relief event of semester puts fundraising over $30,000

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A student-run semi-formal gala and silent auction in Levin ballroom May 1 raised $5,500 for the Brandeis Haiti Relief Effort, increasing the amount raised by students since the disastrous earthquake last January to more than $30,000 and exceeding the $25,000 fundraising goal.

"It was so great to see the Brandeis community come together for this event,” said Sofya Bronshvayg ’11, one of the organizers. “Broad support throughout the community is what made these amazing results possible. This support is very appreciated.”

Shaina Gilbert ’10 and Nathaniel Rosenblum ’10, co-chairs of the Brandeis Haiti Relief Effort, thanked the Brandeis community for its support during the past semester, and introduced Jon Ostrowsky ’13 and Napoleon Lherisson ’11, who will be co-chairs in the coming academic year.

Ostrowsky and Destiny Acquino ’12 collaborated with Bronshvayg in planning the gala.

"We hope that the support BHRE received throughout the past few months will continue for many years to come as we try to both help Haiti as well as develop long-lasting connections between Brandeis and the Haitian people,” Ostrowsky said.

The overall goal of the Haiti Relief Effort is to raise funds for both earthquake relief and long-term improvement of conditions in Haiti, and to educate the Brandeis community about the rich history and culture of the country. Funds raised so far will be donated to Partners In Health, which delivers high-quality medical care to impoverished Haitians; ETE Camp, an educational camp founded by Gilbert last summer to which she is returning to continue building after graduation; and Hope for Haiti, and education, nutrition and health-care provider for Haitian children.

“We're very proud of the cultural and educational events that have been held on campus this semester,” outgoing co-chair Rosenblum said. “However, we realize that even if we were to fundraise at the same level of intensity for the next 20 years, it would still not be enough to meet Haiti's needs.

“We have been meeting with some faculty and staff to discuss how to institutionalize the exciting work that we have begun. We have identified people in key roles in the university who are willing to support the project as it switch focus from an emergency relief effort to a sustainable, university-wide Haiti initiative,” Rosenblum said. “The goal of this initiative would be to strengthen our university's global work by creating durable and mutually beneficial ties among Brandeis, the Haitians in our larger community of Waltham and greater Boston, and people and projects in Haiti.”

A summary of Brandeis Haiti Relief Effort activities and supporting organizations is available on the BHRE Web site.

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