Class of 2023 encouraged to ‘build a better world’
Connecticut College is hosting a series of fundraising and educational events April 9 and 10 to benefit the ongoing recovery effort in Haiti. "Our goal is to raise awareness about the current situation in Haiti and the long-term problems the country will face as the recovery process continues and the rebuilding process eventually begins. We also are raising money for a Haitian charity dedicated to feeding and educating orphaned children," said Robert Gay, director of the College´s Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts and chair of the College´s Haiti Response Committee. Events include a performance by Haitian singer Erol Josue, seven short talks by various speakers, a student variety show and an improvisational comedy show. All of the money raised will be donated to the International Alliance for the Advancement of Children, a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, N.Y., that provides education, vocational training, healthcare and nutrition to children in Les Cayes, Haiti. Following the earthquake, the organization took in 13 children from Port au Prince whose parents are presumed dead. Connecticut College´s donation will help raise and educate these children in the event that no living family members can be located. In addition to the ticket sales from the fundraising events, Connecticut College will be raising money for the charity with the sale of "Hope for Haiti" bracelets, available at a suggested minimum donation of $10. Through another campus fundraising initiative, students can register to have their dining cards deactivated for dinner on April 8. The College will donate $2.95 to the IAAC for each deactivated card. On Friday, April 9, the College is hosting a panel of speakers who will address various topics related to Haiti´s history, the emergency response following the earthquake and the long-term effects of the disaster. All of the talks, scheduled from 1 - 5 p.m. in Olin Observatory Room 014, are free and open to the public. For those who wish to make a donation, "Hope for Haiti" bracelets will be available at the door. The schedule of speakers is as follows: - 1 p.m.: Leo Garofalo, associate professor of history at Connecticut College, will present a brief overview of Haiti´s history from the struggle to end slavery and establish independence through the occupations, dictatorships and democratization movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. - 1:30 p.m.: Denise Lauria, a registered nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, will speak about her deployment to Haiti five days after the earthquake to work with a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses recruited by Partners in Health. She will be joined by Grace Deveney, a representative from the U.S. Office of Global Health Affairs. - 2 p.m.: Journalist Adam Bowles, who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Norwich Bulletin for 15 years, will speak about his experience traveling to Haiti in February with a mission team from a local church. - 2:30 p.m.: Students from the Connecticut College chapter of the International Honor Society in Psychology will discuss the effects of disaster on mental health, especially as it pertains to children. - 3 p.m.: Representatives from Clowns Without Borders, including Deven Sisler, a 2002 graduate of Connecticut College, will speak about four upcoming projects the organization has planned in Haiti. Clowns Without Borders, directed by Dianna Hahn, a 2003 Connecticut College graduate, is a nonprofit organization that uses laughter to relieve the suffering of those who live in areas of crisis, especially children. - 3:30 p.m.: Ghislaine Georges, the Haitian American founder and director of the International Alliance for the Advancement of Children (IAAC), will talk about her organization´s work in Les Cayes, Haiti. - 4 p.m.: William O´Neill, a United Nations peace operations veteran and director of the Social Science Research Council´s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, will speak about reconstruction and human rights protection. O´Neill, a lawyer who specializes in international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, spent most of February in Haiti mobilizing humanitarian assistance and helping the U.N. identify priorities for its programs. The Hope for Haiti fundraising events are also open to the public. All events are in the 1962 Room in the College Center at Crozier-Williams, and 100 percent of all ticket sales will go directly to the IAAC. The event schedule is as follows: - Friday, April 9; 9:30 p.m.: Hope for Haiti Improv Comedy Show, featuring Connecticut College´s N2O, Northeastern University´s NU and Improv´d and Yale University´s The Purple Crayon. Tickets will be available at the door for $15. Admission is free for members of the Connecticut College community with a pre-purchased "Hope for Haiti" bracelet. - Saturday, April 10; 7:30 p.m.: Hope for Haiti Variety Show, featuring dance and musical performances by Connecticut College students and faculty, including The Co Co Beaux, Conn Chords and Conn Artists a cappella groups and the Connecticut College Dance Team. Tickets will be available at the door for $15; admission to the Erol Josue performance is included. Admission to both events is free for members of the Connecticut College community with a pre-purchased "Hope for Haiti" bracelet. - Saturday, April 10; 10 p.m.: Erol Josue and special guest Jowee Omicil in concert. Josue, who is often called "The Prince of Haitian Roots Music," is known for merging the rich musical, vocal and dance traditions of Haitian Vodou with modern pop and funk. Omicil, a musician, composer, producer and educator, is noted for his talent on the saxophone. Tickets will be available at the door for $15; admission to the Hope for Haiti Variety Show is included. Admission to both events is free for members of the Connecticut College community with a pre-purchased "Hope for Haiti" bracelet. For more information, please call (860) 439-2440.