BY KELBY CLARK
The efforts and charitable spirit of several student organizations at County College of Morris are hard at work raising money to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan, the storm that killed more than 6,000 people and displaced approximately 4 million in early November 2013, according to The Associated Press and The Weather Channel.
Renata Mauriz, 21, vice president of service for CCM’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and an international studies major at CCM, initiated the relief effort two days after the typhoon made landfall.
Mauriz convinced many of the student organizations to become involved.
“Even though this wasn’t local, I still think it’s important for all us as citizens of a global society to help each other in times of tremendous need,” Mauriz said. “Individuals from six different student clubs came together… to extend support and solidarity to the people and communities of the devastated areas of the Philippines. There’s something really beautiful about students unaffected by this issue, acknowledging other people’s struggles and taking action to help in every way they can.”
Various student organizations including: Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, New Social Engine, Asian Students Association, Volunteer Club and Psychology Club are actively involved in the cause, and as of January, the group has raised more than $860, mostly through campus bake sales in 2013.
Dr. Bette Simmons, the vice president of Student Development & Enrollment Management at CCM, is delighted that the students have taken the initiative to aid victims of the typhoon and is proud of their efforts thus far.
“As always, I was so proud of our student organizations when I heard that they were collaborating on the organization of a relief effort,” Simmons said. “This relief effort is an excellent way for those organizers to acknowledge the victims of the typhoon, be able to articulate with others about the devastation of this event and make a difference in the lives of victims.”
Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda to the people of the Philippines, was rated as one of the most powerful storms to hit land anywhere in the world by meteorologists, according to CNN.
In addition to the loss of human life and displacement of peoples, the typhoon left the homes of more than 16 million people flattened or damaged, according to The Associated Press. It also devastated the country’s farming and fishing communities with its mass destruction of crops and fishing boats, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In an effort to increase their overall donation, the students are selling customized wristbands with a message in Filipino, “bumangon ka Pilipinas,” which translates to “rise up Philippines.” The students intend to sell the wristbands outside of local supermarkets to raise more awareness and more donations in February.
Aaron Del Mundo, the vice president of fellowship for CCM’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter hopes that the wristbands will inspire people to donate to the cause.
“They [the wristbands] are better than normal bracelets because they sport the colors of the Filipino flag and a phrase that’s in the native tongue of the Filipinos,” Del Mundo said. “It’s more personal. Hopefully, that will resonate with people and increase support for the cause.”
The money that the group raises will be donated to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in February. NAFCON is a national multi-issue alliance of Filipino organizations and individuals in the United States whose mission is to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos, and its members have a presence in more than 23 cities in the United States, according to the organization’s website.
Although the country received more supplies and money than the United Nations initially thought was needed for immediate emergency shelter, more than $270 million in foreign aid in November 2013, many of the U.N.’s recovery projects in the Philippines are not adequately funded to help with the country’s long-term recovery, according to The Christian Science Monitor and The Times-Picayune, a New Orleans newspaper.
The group is confident that the money they raise will be funneled to the right institutions and used to help those in desperate need.
“NAFCON is an amazing organization,” said Emily Van Hook, a business administration major and active participant in the relief effort. “All the money sent to them [NAFCON] will go directly to the victims of the typhoon. My hope is that enough money will be raised to help every single victim of this horrible event.”