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Impact of the Haitian earthquake at Elon University

Many students, faculty and staff at Elon University have expressed concern for the people of Haiti following a massive earthquake on Tuesday that killed tens of thousands and devastated much of the Caribbean nation. A current student and a 2009 alum on the ground in Haiti have made contact with their families in the United States, while another two current students and other alumni have started hearing from their own relatives still in the country.

Elon University senior John McGreevy was in the country on a personal trip to measure the impact of solar cookers in a village north of Port-au-Prince, and his family outside of Philadelphia reported to the university that he is unharmed. The area where he is staying was not impacted by the destruction.

McGreevy, an environmental studies and biology double major, is also a Periclean Scholar. Solar cookers are a green technology that help women reduce workloads as well as the amount of smoke created when cooking food in remote regions.

Click here to read more from McGreevy's hometown newspaper about his work in Haiti and his first reactions to the earthquake.

Courtney Latta, a 2009 alumna, was in Port-au-Prince volunteering with the Children's Nutrition Program of Haiti when the earthquake hit. She has reported to family that she is uninjured. Latta, an international studies major, was also a Periclean Scholar.

Administrators have also confirmed that the parents of two recent alumni (2008 and 2009) are fine. The university has also been in contact with two current students and two recent alumni (2006 and 2009) who are waiting to hear from extended family; communications with Haiti are poor at this time.

If you know of any Elon students or alumni with family or friends in Haiti, please forward their names to Smith Jackson, vice president of Student Life, at jacksons@elon.edu so the university may contact them.

While they are not ready to receive volunteers at this time, many organizations on the ground can use financial donations to provide immediate assistance. While the list below is not comprehensive, it includes reputable humanitarian aid organizations that are currently providing relief in Haiti.

American Red Cross and Stop Hunger Now are organizations that partner with the Elon University community throughout the year. 

American Red Cross: Text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill. Visit this blog entry for more information.


Doctors Without Borders

Haiti Help Med Plus: Nonprofit previously established by the father of a current Elon student.

Haitian Health Foundation

Hope for Haiti


Partners in Health

Stop Hunger Now


World Vision

Additional efforts to raise funds for relief efforts are underway on campus, including projects established by Elon Hillel and by the Omicron Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. See the related posts to the right for more information on those efforts.

The Elon Phoenix baseball team has also launched a new initiative, "Pinch Hit for Haiti," which challenges NCAA collegiate baseball teams to donate money to the Red Cross.

After thinking about the amount of money that could be raised if every athlete gave just $1, senior catcher Mike Melillo came up with the “Pinch Hit for Haiti” concept. An attempt was made to contact every NCAA Division I, II and III program in the country on Thursday.

“The idea is to pay it forward because we’re not in a situation to physically help,” Melillo said. “We want to offer our help in any way we can. Although our donations may be small individually, we feel that collectively as student-athletes our support will be of great assistance.”

As programs donate money, a page on the Elon Phoenix web site will track the donations of teams and states from around the country.

Donations are being made directly to the Red Cross in a variety of ways. If you would like to help out in this effort, you can donate to the Haiti Relief and Development fund at www.redcross.org. You can also donate $10 via your mobile phone by texting “Haiti” to 90999.

Individuals who donate can have their total added to that of their favorite team by e-mailing their name, amount of their donation, Red Cross tracking ID number and the name of the team they support to PinchHitforHaiti@gmail.com.

The running total for school’s will be updated daily through the end of February. 

Eric Townsend,
1/20/2010 5:33 PM