Three student organizations at NDSU answered the call of help when an earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude shook Haiti on Jan 12. The African Student Union, Black Students Association and the International Students Association raised more than $3,000 in one week to help the victims.
The groups combined their efforts and conducted a weeklong fundraiser. Students stood at a table in the Memorial Union for a week, asking people to donate to the victims of Haiti. On Jan. 26, the money raised was turned over to the Minn-Kota Chapter of the Red Cross in the form of one large check and some smaller checks totaling $3,052.16.
All three student organizations have recognized Fabrice Wognin as the main organizer for the event. According to Monique Vondall-Rieke, program coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Programs, Wognin, a native of Ivory Coast, West Africa, has been given praise and credit for stepping up to the challenge of helping those so far away, but so near to the hearts and minds of many international students at NDSU.
Wognin serves as the treasurer for both the African Student Union and the Black Student Association organizations. Each day, Wognin and staff from the Office of Multicultural Programs would count the money raised. It was a great surprise to the students that, on the first day, the group raised $1,000 in seven hours.
After being assured that 100 percent of the money raised would go to Haiti relief, the students turned the funds over to the area Red Cross chapter personnel who would ensure needed supplies were purchased and food was provided to people, perhaps even family members of some NDSU students.
"These are our brothers and our sisters," one student fundraiser pleaded to a passerby who reached into his pocket and gave willingly once he realized what they were raising the money for. "I give because we all need to. If it were the U.S., they would help us, I hope."
For information on how to donate to the Minn-Kota Chapter of the Red Cross, go to minnkotaredcross.org.