Elon University and the 2010 Haitian earthquake

map of Haiti

Elon Students and Alumni Impacted

A current student and a 2009 alum were on the ground in Haiti at the time of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that killed more than a quarter million people. Both have safely returned to the United States.

Senior John McGreevy was in Haiti on a personal trip to measure the impact of solar cookers in a village north of Port-au-Prince. The area where he is staying was not impacted by the destruction, though he assisted with emergency relief efforts in the days that followed.

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.

McGreevy's hometown newspaper reported on 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. An international studies major, Latta was also a Periclean Scholar and caught a flight back to the United States on a military transport after losing her passport in the rubble of the facility where she was living.

Several Elon University students have relatives who survived the quake and remain in Haiti. At least one student had extended family killed in the disaster.

Who to Contact for Elon University Information

In the coming months, students, faculty or staff in need of assistance with planning fundraising and awareness events may contact Brian O'Shea, assistant to the vice president for student life and dean of students, at boshea@elon.edu or at (336) 278-7220.

For assistance in publicizing confirmed, planned events, the campus community is encouraged to submit news through E-net or by contacting Eric Townsend, director of the Elon University news bureau, at etownsend4@elon.edu or (336) 278-7413.

Where and How to Give

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: http://www.redcross.org/ 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.

CARE: http://www.care.org/

Doctors Without Borders: http://doctorswithoutborders.org/

Haiti Help Med Plus (Nonprofit previously established by the father of a current Elon student): http://www.haitihelpmed.org/

Haitian Health Foundation: http://www.haitianhealthfoundation.org/

Hope for Haiti: http://www.hopeforhaiti.com/

Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org/

Partners in Health: http://www.pih.org

Stop Hunger Now: http://www.stophungernow.org

UNICEF: http://www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake

World Vision: http://www.worldvision.org/

Campus Fundraising Efforts

Thousands of dollars were raised by Elon students to contribute to the recovery. Elon Hillel raised nearly $2,000 collecting Red Cross donations through meal swipes, Phoenix cash and monetary donations in the first days after the earthquake.

The Periclean Scholars program also reported in a January 19, 2010, meeting that it has collected more than $5,000 in donations.

Additional efforts to raise funds for relief efforts are underway on campus, including projects established by the Omicron Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The Elon Phoenix baseball team launched an initiative, "Pinch Hit for Haiti," which challenged NCAA collegiate baseball teams to donate money to the Red Cross. The initiative recorded more than $16,000 contributed 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 donated money, a page on the Elon Phoenix web site tracked the donations of teams and states from around the country.

Donations were made directly to the Red Cross in a variety of ways. 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.