Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

University community pitches in for Haitian relief efforts

In the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, the University of Denver quickly went into action with a variety of events to raise money for relief efforts and educate the community about the devastated Caribbean nation.

So far, the University community has raised more than $8,000 in donations, mostly from student groups and small individual contributions. Organizers of the fundraiser hope to pass $10,000 by Friday. Donations go directly to theLambi Fund of Haiti, a nonprofit dedicated to building democracy and sustainable development in Haiti.

“I think it’s reflective of the global response,” says Jami Duffy, a program coordinator for DU’s Social Justice Living and Learning Community. “I’m impressed by the outpouring of support and the unity on campus. It’s not easy to organize a campus-wide effort, but everyone has really been working together.”

Campus organizations that have donated to the relief effort span the DU campus and include University College, the Lamont Student Music Performance Organization and the DU Sustainability Council. For a more extensive list, visit

A sizable portion of the money was raised by a special event put on by the DU Grilling Society (DUGS) on Jan. 19 on the Driscoll Lawn. The society — a student group that brings together students with a passion for grilling — served chicken to 350 students, staff and faculty in return for a small donation.

The event raised more than $1,000 alone.

“The student reaction has been overwhelming,” says Jason Lundberg, student comptroller and a former DUGS member. “We’re still getting student organizations that are looking to help out. I think it’s well-received by students and by some of the departments as well.”

Also on Tuesday, the University hosted a panel discussion on Haiti and a memorial for earthquake victims. The panel included Lynn Holland, a DU lecturer, Ed Morgan, who helped found the Colorado Haiti Project and Figaro Joseph, a PhD student from Haiti who is enrolled in DU’s Korbel School of International Studies. The panel was moderated by DU Chaplain Gary Brower. About 75 students and faculty attended the panel discussion and 25 attended the memorial, Brower says.

The event covered several broad topics related to Haiti, including the country’s geo-politics, history and geography. For instance, Brower says, Joseph explained to the audience that Haiti has one major north-south road, which is why delivering aid can get delayed. Also, Haiti has more nongovernmental organizations than any other country.

“I was pleased with the turnout,” Brower says. “I had no idea what to expect. The folks that came were engaged, and there were many good questions. The people I talked to afterward were extremely grateful.”


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