FEBRUARY 17, 2010

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NSU Rallies Support for Haiti Relief

Artwork of Haiti Relief Effort.


Students, faculty and staff at Northeastern State University continue efforts to assist victims of the recent earthquakes in Haiti with individual pledges of financial support and engagement in public service opportunities to assist the beleaguered island nation.

Within a day after the first earthquake struck on Jan. 12, NSU established a Web site listing opportunities initiated within the campus community to make donations and establish fundraising efforts.

President Don Betz told the university community that in addition to helping with immediate relief efforts in the days and weeks ahead, NSU will be exploring ways to partner with other institutions to help universities, colleges and schools in Haiti rebuild.

"We will be looking at long term initiatives that will provide sustained connections between us and a Haitian university, college or school,” Betz said. “In this way we will provide much-needed support as they move from dealing with the trauma at hand toward returning to their primary responsibilities."

Several NSU students contacted administrators within hours after the first of two earthquakes, indicating willingness to travel to Haiti to help in the relief and rebuilding efforts in the coming months. And the Northeastern Student Government Association hosted a student forum on Jan. 20 to organize student-led, long-term fundraising efforts.

"This is a service learning opportunity for students who become involved in this effort, which might actually change the direction of their lives as they respond to this opportunity to assist in a crisis that is drawing resources together from around the world,” Betz said.

Betz, who chairs the American Association of State Colleges & Universities’ (AASCU) International Education Committee, initiated a discussion among other member in­stitutions to gather suggestions and ideas from presidents and chancellors concern­ing post-earthquake development of Haiti educational institutions.

"With 430 higher education institutions serving 3.5 million students, AASCU campuses can have an extraordinary impact,” he noted. "I am pleased that institutions nationwide have responded to this call for information-sharing and creative, concerted action."