Pancake Mix for Haiti: Students Find Creative Ways to Help

After the Texas Longhorns lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide Jan. 7, the Co-op was required to destroy the championship T-shirts and memorabilia it had already made in preparation of a championship victory. However, the Co-op can choose to donate the memorabilia to somewhere outside of the U.S., and the bookstores received permission to send the shirts to Haiti.

"After everything happened, we brainstormed as to what we could do," said Casey Ellis with the Co-op marketing department. "This was just so obvious."

About 13,000 shirts and 1,000 hats were sent to a secure facility run by women in Haiti, where Haitian women can pick out what they need for their families, Ellis said.

While a variety of donations is helping those in Haiti, so is an astounding variety of student organizations. More than 100 student organizations and administrative staff at the University of Florida have banded together to create "Gators United for Haiti."

The group's goal is to raise $50,000, and they are now over the $25,000 mark as of Feb. 22. The University Athletic Association now says it will match up to $50,000, said Sky Georges, student president of Gators United for Haiti.

Georges was born and raised in Haiti, and he has family living in the country. "It's definitely close to my heart," he said.

He said donations will be sent to the organization Yélé Haiti. Gators United for Haiti also continues to collect canned goods and medical supplies on campus and around Gainesville.

"To be honest, it's kind of overwhelming," Georges said. "We're not going to sleep on this issue at all, so we're still working hard."

For Haiti: Hundreds of Shoes

The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa was set on raising more than 700 pairs of shoes to benefit people in Haiti through Soles4Souls, a charity that has distributed shoes to people all over the world since 2005.

Sara Hartley, the assistant director of parent programs, said she wanted to give students another option if they couldn't give monetary donations.

"It's really just a strong thing to see happen on campus, that students will come together for one cause," Hartley said. "To know that we had over 400 pairs of shoes in our first week was just very impressive."

The last day to donate was Feb.12, and Hartley said they are well above their goal of 700.

"I'm just more and more amazed that I walk past the box and it's full again," she said.

Working to Restore Haiti's Educational Efforts

Campus relief efforts continue this month at the University of South Carolina. Students and faculty have held a relief concert to benefit the American Red Cross, designed T-shirts and provided USC students with information on the culture, history and status of Haiti.

"A lot of our students, they were certainly aware of what they were seeing on TV, but they didn't know the condition Haiti was in before the earthquake," said Jerry Brewer, USC associate vice president for student affairs.

The university also has created a proposal to help a student from Haiti with college.

"If we provide somebody with an education, a college education, then they can go back to Haiti and make a long-term investment in their country," Brewer said.

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