Think you can’t help Haiti? Think Again.

In Opinion, Top Stories
Graffiti on a wall is shown near the soccer stadium where immunization shots took place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, February 2, 2010. Photo courtesy of Walter Michot/Miami Herald/MCT

By now, everyone knows that Haiti is in deep trouble. It’s no secret that this tiny island in the Caribbean – the poorest nation in the western hemisphere – was just hit by one of the deadliest earthquakes in recent history. Celebrities from all over Los Angeles have come together over the past couple of weeks to raise money for the victims of this natural disaster. So, what are you doing to help?

I know. I know. You’re in college. You have no money, you have textbooks to buy, you have no time to devote to people who might as well be on Mars. You may not even know where Haiti is. Why should you care what happens to the people in Haiti, right? There’s no way you could help, even if you really wanted to.

Think again. Cal State Fullerton’s Volunteer and Service Center, located in the TSU Underground, has been busy compiling a list of resources for students to get involved with helping Haiti. “Even though we have eight programs running already, our center knows that students want to do something,” said Assistant Coordinator Paul Saiedi. That’s why representatives from the Volunteer and Service Center have been handing out fact sheets and flyers on campus, urging students not to forget about helping Haiti.

It’s easy to dismiss a catastrophe when it’s not at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. “I think it’s important to just raise awareness for what’s going on,” said freshman Diama Mbaye, a biology major. “Even if you can only donate a dollar, that dollar might help someone in Haiti who really needs it.” And more importantly, getting involved with global situations such as Haiti means that for once, students can make a difference.

Put yourself in their shoes. That’s what Canaan Barber, a first-year political science major, did. “Too many people are thinking selfishly,” said Barber. “If I was in that situation and I really needed help, I’d want someone to do something for me.” Whether it’s giving old clothes or canned goods to a Red Cross Drive, or texting in a micro-donation of $5 or $10, anything can help.

So why aren’t more students coming forward to help raise money for Haiti? Suzanne Hotchkin, a senior kinesiology major, admitted that she knew of only a few places to donate, and didn’t really know what organization she could give to in order to make sure her money was being put to good use. Many students on campus feel the same, which is why now is the best time to get informed. Go to CSUF’s Web site and into your student portal. The university has posted a list of places where students can call or go online to get more information about helping Haiti.

Even if it means forgoing a cup of coffee or an upgraded size of french fries, the bottom line is that students can make a difference if they take a few minutes to get informed. International organizations, such as the International Medical Fund or UNICEF and the U.N.’s program for children, are begging for more help. Isn’t it time to finally act?

So the next time you pull out your wallet, think about what that money is being used for. For someone in Haiti, it could mean the difference between a new life or just another day without food.

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