Thursday, January 28, 2010

AP: Dartmouth Students a National Model for Haiti Response

I'm really proud of Dartmouth after reading this AP article:

Two days after the Jan. 12 quake, seniors Frances Vernon, Maura Cass and Alexandra Schindler stayed up until 6:30 a.m. developing a campus- and community-wide strategy to raise money for Partners in Health, an organization co-founded by Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim that has operated in Haiti for decades. Given Kim's connections to the group, the trio knew Dartmouth would send a medical team to Haiti and wanted to match that effort with the same intensity.

"We might not be trained medical professionals, we might not have the financial resources to mobilize and be on the ground in Haiti, but we have time and we have brain power," said Vernon.

What emerged from that Thursday night spent making lists and sketching diagrams on huge sheets of paper tacked to the wall was a strategy to bring together students, faculty, staff and community groups. By Jan. 16, they had signed up leaders for eight committees ranging from monetary collection to communications, and by Jan. 17, they were ready to hand out assignments to 300 volunteers who showed up at a kickoff rally...

Mark Arnoldy, a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said he relied heavily on Dartmouth's model in helping create the fundraising campaign he and other student leaders are about to launch. While Dartmouth has an advantage given Kim's background with Partners in Health and the quickness with which he sought to get students involved in the relief effort, Arnoldy said he is confident his school will reach its $100,000 goal...

At Northwestern University, senior Peter Luckow said he's been impressed that Vernon and other Dartmouth students are looking beyond the immediate disaster and thinking critically about long-term issues in Haiti as well. His school has surpassed its more modest fundraising $8,000 goal and is looking to increase its goal soon.

According to the Partners in Health's Web site tally of personal donations, the $133,000 raised by Dartmouth as of Monday afternoon far exceeded the next highest total -- $51,000 raised by FACE AIDS, a Stanford University group.

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