Yale staff extends tsunami relief

Students and faculty have thus far led the fund raising effort for tsunami victims in Asia, but Wednesday evening Yale staff will contribute their time and resources when they sponsor their own benefit concert.

With the help of student volunteers, Yale staff members have organized a benefit concert and raffle in Woolsey Hall this Wednesday to raise money for tsunami victims. The idea for the benefit concert was initially conceived by a group of staff workers in Information Technology Services, co-chair of the Yale College Tsunami Relief Fund Carol Yu ’08 said, and the idea spread to other staff departments. While there have been student and faculty initiatives to raise funds for the cause, this marks the first time staff members have been the primary organizers for a tsunami relief event.

“A bunch of staff wanted to help out with tsunami relief, and they didn’t know how to,” Yu said. “They felt sort of left out, so they’re all getting together and putting up the whole thing.”

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey was impressed that the entire University community contributed their efforts for this benefit concert.

“I’ve been impressed by the sheer number of people who have come together to express their concern … work, [and] volunteer in different ways,” Salovey said. “The other aspect of the response that has been very encouraging to me is the fact that students and faculty and staff are working together on joint fundraising efforts, and it’s particularly gratifying to see groups on campus seize an opportunity like this to come together as a single community.”

Performers will include the Yale Brass, the Alley Cats, Redhot & Blue, Out of the Blue, the Saybrook College Orchestra, the Whiffenpoofs, the Long Island Sounds, the Yale Women’s Slavic Chorus and the Exit Players. The event will be emceed by Jocelyn Maminta from WTNH News Channel 8, and Salovey will make the opening remarks. Raffle prizes will include donations from local businesses, as well as a 40 GB Apple iPod.

Redhot and Blue Business Manager Christine Mathias ’07 said she was excited to perform in an event that went toward such a worthy cause.

“I think this is a really great event, and it’s a really great way for a lot of the Yale community to give money to what obviously is a really good cause,” Mathias said.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from Wednesday night will go to the Yale College Tsunami Relief Fund, Yu said. The rest of the proceeds will go to AmeriCares.

The relief fund — administered by Tsunami Relief at Yale College — was started Feb. 1 in order to consolidate the fund-raising efforts of Yale student groups specifically affiliated with tsunami relief. In addition to centralizing money raised for the tsunami disaster, the tsunami relief group is also working to ensure that donations continue even as the initial attention focused on the tsunami disaster subsides. The group has raised over $8,000 since the tsunami struck. Other organizations, including CARE and the Asian American Students Alliance Association, have raised upwards of $4,000, Yu said.

Some performers said they were pleased that efforts to aid tsunami victims were still ongoing even months after the disaster.

“I know there’s still wreckage and they’re still finding something like 200 bodies a day … it’s really good that even now … relief will be going on,” Saybrook College Orchestra member Michael Truskowski ’08 said.

Since the tsunami hit Dec. 26, numerous benefit concerts, with proceeds going to relief organizations, have been sponsored by the Yale Student Activities Committee, Disaster Relief-Sri Lanka, the American Red Cross at Yale, the Asian American Students Alliance and the School of Music. In addition, the School of Medicine sent a delegation of doctors and students to Sri Lanka for two weeks to provide medical care, and members from the Yale Debate Team participated in an international debate competition in Canada whose proceeds went to tsunami relief efforts. A number of remembrance ceremonies, including a vigil by Indigo Blue, the Buddhist center on campus, have also been held to commemorate the victims of the tsunami disaster.

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