The student chapter of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago at Northwestern University already has efforts underway to help the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday. As soon as the day after the quake, the club began rallying support from the Northwestern community.
In a statement released by the Red Cross of Northwestern on Wednesday, students were urged to go online to www.redcross.org, call in donations to 1-800-RED-CROSS, or simply text HAITI to the number 90999. The text message automatically donates ten dollars to the cause, which will be added to the donor’s phone bill.
“The text message service is a quick and easy way to give,” said Travis White-Schwoch of Northwestern’s Red Cross chapter, according to the released statement. “The donation goes straight to the Red Cross and is exclusively for use in Haiti. “
The club will continue to work in the coming weeks to further the national effort, which has become a priority for the American Red Cross, national government and various other organizations.
As the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti does not have the resources to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake, which left the capital city of Port-au-Prince in a pile of rubble. In order to rebuild, the country will depend on donations from the Red Cross and other international aid agencies.
According to Red Cross Co-President, Jenny Yu, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago emailed members of Red Cross chapters at schools in the area urging students to raise awareness about the disaster in Haiti the morning after the earthquake struck. So far, the response has been very positive at Northwestern.
“We don’t really know how much has been raised because most people have been texting, and it’s hard to monitor,” Yu, a Weinberg sophomore, said. “But there have definitely been people texting in and donating their ten dollars, which is really wonderful.”
Yu added that in order to spread awareness, their group members have left messages on blank chalkboards throughout classrooms on campus, created a Facebook group, and sent messages over listservs to let people know how to donate.
Alongside the Red Cross efforts, ASG is working to organize a committee dedicated solely to the cause of Haitian aid. At Wednesday night’s meeting, new legislation was passed to create an emergency committee, which will raise funds and awareness on campus.
The Red Cross is hoping to team up with ASG to hold a larger event soon to raise greater awareness and gain more funds. Yu said it would potentially be a week-long activity to garner support on a larger scale.
“We haven’t planned anything concrete yet,” Yu said. “But we’re hoping that by working with ASG and having larger events more people will become aware and be willing to give money.”