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Berks students lead initiative to help Haiti

In response to the devastation in Haiti, Penn State Berks students have formed a campus organization called "We Are ... Helping Haiti @ Berks." This group, led by Global Studies major Brittany Chiles, is working with Penn State University Park in establishing a unified program throughout the Penn State system for aiding the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

"I have a few very dear friends whose families are possibly suffering from the catastrophic earthquake events in Haiti," states Chiles. "This vicarious experience of tragedy, unrest, and urgency has moved me to create a community effort to help Haiti."

Immediately after the earthquake, the group began meeting to plan short- and long-range initiatives to support relief efforts. The first effort will be "canning" on campus on Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22. The Nittany Lion mascot and a student escort will be traveling through campus to collect financial donations from students, staff, and faculty. In addition, students will be stationed at tables in the Perkins Student Center and the Franco Building on those days, and designated staff members will also accept donations.

Also, on Thursday, January 21, during the Freyberger Gallery artist reception for Steven Siegel: Wonderful Life, attendees will be encouraged by the student group to call the American Red Cross number that applies $10 to the caller's telephone bill toward relief to Haiti.

In addition, the student group is planning several fundraising events. For Valentine's Day, they plan to sell packets of handmade greeting cards and gift sets for men and women. Other plans include fundraising events at local restaurants, selling apparel, and holding events such as a Haiti Awareness Week, a spades tournament, and a faculty vs. student sports challenge.

The students are working to determine the most effective charities to support. We Are... Helping Haiti @ Berks will choose the charity that sends the highest percentage of each dollar directly to Haiti and does not have a specific connection to any religious group or political affiliation.

For more information or to find out how to get involved, contact one of the following student leaders:
Brittany Chiles-Project Manager, bsc5057@psu.edu
Ashley Jacques-Student Relations and Fundraising, adj5054@psu.edu
Thamara Magloire-Faculty and Staff Relations, tqm5013@psu.edu
Naysia Williams-Event and Team Coordinator, nsw5024@psu.edu
Mary Jean Ulloa-Community Liaison, mju113@psu.edu
Coraliz Rosario-Tech and Public Relations, cur140@psu.edu
Chelby Kilheffer-Resource Manager, crk5121@psu.edu

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