Campus rallies for Philippines

Since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines nearly two weeks ago, members of the Yale community have mobilized to plan and implement a variety of relief efforts for the nearly 13 million people affected by the storm.

Students, faculty, administrators and local residents are conducting a series of fundraising and awareness efforts this week, including online giving campaigns, a T-shirt sale, a benefit concert, a dinner and a candlelight vigil.

Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86 said donations to the Yale Relief Fund, which collects money for disaster relief on behalf of the University, have increased since University President Peter Salovey sent one of his “Notes from Woodbridge Hall” emails Monday morning addressing Typhoon Haiyan, and donations now total nearly $20,000. In addition, student groups such as Kasama — Yale’s student Filipino club — are working on philanthropic endeavors.

“Many of our students, faculty and staff have close ties to the Philippines,” Goff-Crews wrote in an email to Yale community last week. “Our focus now is on immediate relief.”

On Thursday, Kasama will host a benefit concert in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall that will feature a variety of student groups and performances. The goal is to both raise money and educate community members about the disaster, Kasama Co-President Ulysses Isidro ’15 said.

The name for the event — Bagong Araw — means “a new day” in Filipino, he said.

Following the series of performances, which will include The Baker’s Dozen, Just Add Water, Mixed Company, Out of the Blue and others, Yale University Chaplain Sharon Kugler will lead a candlelit vigil.

Kasama aims to raise roughly $15,000, said Christopher Marnell ’14, a member of Kasama who is involved in planning the event. The group has already raised $4,600 through online crowdsourcing efforts, he said, adding that corporate sponsors — many of whom are Kasama alumni — have agreed to match donations up to $5,000.

All funds raised by Kasama will go to AmeriCare, a nonprofit organization which is helping to provide emergency medical supplies to the Philippines, Marnell said.

Christopher Dee ’15, whose family is currently in the Philippines, said that the willingness of people in the Philippines to help each other during this difficult time comes from the concept of “Bayanihan,” which he said means “the idea of a collective nation.” Dee said he hopes to promote a similar sense of altruism at Yale through the Kasama benefit concert.

Of the four students interviewed working toward relief efforts, all stated that they were impressed with the degree of support the Yale administration has offered.

In his email to the Yale community on Monday morning, Salovey referenced his time studying in the Philippines and said Yale needs to unite as a community to aid our “neighbors, whether in New Haven or halfway around the globe.”

“The administration has been phenomenal,” Dee said. “The ‘That’s Why I Chose Yale’ video has materialized before my eyes.”

On Thursday, the Asian Network at Yale will host a fundraiser at the restaurant Bentara on Orange Street. There will be opportunities to donate as well as a presentation on local community efforts to assist with typhoon relief, Goff-Crews wrote in an email to the News.

AIESEC Yale will also be selling T-shirts for the Yale-Harvard Game in which buyers will have the option to pay $5 extra toward Typhoon Haiyan relief.

The University has set up its own website to solicit donations, which allows individuals to donate using credit cards, Goff-Crews told the News. Donations specified as “Philippines Relief” in the “purpose of payment” section will go to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares and Mercy Corps.

Despite these philanthropic endeavors, the difficulty of the disaster continues to weigh on community members intimately affected by the storm.

“It is very personal. Not all [Yale students] have heard back from their families” said Marnell, who was unable to contact his family for two days after the storm. He said it was difficult for Filipino students to plan fundraisers when there is still so much uncertainty in their personal lives.

Next semester, Kasama plans to hold another fundraiser to help with the rebuilding effort and may host a panel discussion on the disaster, Marnell said.

Typhoon Haiyan is the second-deadliest Philippine typhoon on record. Nearly 4,000 people have been reported dead.

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