Campus Fundraisers Aim to Bring Relief to Puerto Rico

Thompson House is currently selling Halloween grams, and a student-run fundraiser spanning several events begins with a table at the Homecoming block party on Saturday, October 21.

By Rimsha Nazeer, Contributor

Several efforts are underway on campus to fundraise for relief for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

First-year and newly-elected College Council Representative Malay Trivedi is working with the College administration, first-year Tamara Peréz Cantalapiedra, first-year Luis Sierra, and second-year and University Community Service Center intern Sanya Khatri to organize an entirely student-run fundraiser spanning multiple events.

The first event will be an information and donation table set up during the Homecoming block party on Saturday, October 21. The team is also hoping to secure a dunk tank during Homecoming weekend, start an inter-house competition for the most money raised, and arrange a full-day fundraising event this quarter, which would conclude with a talent show. The team is still looking for performing RSOs and students.

Thompson House in International House has organized Halloween grams to be sold to all houses until October 29. All proceeds will go directly to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and neighboring islands.

Each Halloween gram, priced at $4, will include a decorated envelope, a note, and candy, all of which is funded by the house’s own budget. The house’s service chair and the leader of the fundraiser, second-year Sarah Mason, says she was motivated to fundraise for hurricane victims when Hurricane Harvey impacted the lives of her housemates from Texas. When she saw how little was being done for Puerto Rico in comparison to Texas, however, she shifted her attention from the Lone Star State to the Caribbean island.

“Because Puerto Ricans don’t vote, our politicians are less motivated to do something about it themselves. So, it is up to us,” Mason said. “We have to appeal to human empathy.” She added that other houses are encouraged to join her in raising money for Puerto Rico.

“It is every single person’s individual responsibility to look out for their fellow citizen, especially in times of need,” Trivedi wrote in an e-mail to The Maroon. “As unfortunate as they are, tragedies can serve as opportunities for people to unite for a greater good and reveal the best in people. Hopefully we can leverage this opportunity to do good and bring our campus together.”

Puerto Rico is still feeling the disastrous effects of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island September 16. The category-five hurricane and its aftermath killed 48 people, with 117 people still left unaccounted for, the territory's Department of Public Safety said on Saturday. According to Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, nearly 85 percent of the island lacks electricity, and thousands of Puerto Ricans were left homeless.