Students donate time, money for Haitian relief

Hannah Nusser and Hannah Nusser

Santos Melchor, Alpha Sigma Phi house cook, woke up at 7 a.m. to prepare 15 gallons of delectable hot chocolate with the hope that University students would donate money for a steaming cup to help the Haitians after the devastating earthquake, and he did it all free of charge.

Melchor’s act of generosity was one of many on campus in the weeks following the devastating earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti.

A week after tragedy struck Haiti, Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity dedicated its monthly philanthropy event towards the relief effort. Alpha Phi member Gabe Melchor’s father and house cook Santos Melchor offered to make hot chocolate for the campaign.

On Jan. 29, the Alpha Phi men worked the ‘Hot Chocolate for Haiti’ table in one hour shifts from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the education building, accepting donations for free cups of hot chocolate.

Freshman Nicole Erdeljac said she was drawn to the spectacle because of the crowd and the signs advertising free hot chocolate, and donated $2 to the cause.

“Free hot chocolate kind of makes you want to donate more because it came for free,” she said.

Erdeljac said the involvement of others inspired her to contribute.

“A lot of people were doing different things to help out, so obviously something was needed, so any little bit that I could do [to help],” she said.

Five hours and $400 later, the Alpha Phi men had exceeded all of their expectations, said Robert Martin, Alpha Sigma Phi president. Martin said the event was a convenient outlet for students who wanted to help Haiti, but didn’t know where to take their donations.

“We were really only looking to make $100 or so, because we weren’t charging for the cups,” Martin said. “It was really just donations. I guess it just goes to show people are very generous.”

Alpha Sigma Phi was not the only student organization to jump on the Haiti relief bandwagon. The Student Athlete Advisory Committee planned two events to benefit Haiti’s rebuilding process.

The SAAC, in conjunction with the University athletics department and BGSU Bookstore, dubbed the Feb. 27 men’s and women’s basketball games “Hoops for Haiti,” in which $2 of every ticket sold was donated to Haiti relief.

“We came together [and decided] that as the student athlete committee, we needed to do something for Haiti,” Richardson said. “We got a lot of stuff going … we just wanted to give back.”

“Hoops for Haiti” generated over $1,500 from cash and item donations, ticket sales and event tee shirts sold, said Brian Delehoy, University athletics assistant director of marketing.

SAAC will also host Jock Jams, a student-athlete talent show in which 100 percent of the proceeds are designated to Haiti relief. On March 21, representatives from each of the 18 University sports teams will be judged by coaches and faculty on their special talents outside of the official competitive atmosphere. Tickets are $2 at the door at 6 p.m. in Perry Field House.

SAAC is also still accepting items that can be donated to Haiti. Richardson said canned food items are currently not needed; items needed are bagged rice, dried beans and first aid kits.

The Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate teamed up with ISOH/IMPACT to assist in Haiti efforts. The student groups organized a food collection campaign and dispersed donation bins all over campus in which students could donate items like peanut butter, canned goods, soap and other toiletries at their convenience. Mutgi said USG placed boxes all over campus and spread the word among students, while GSS worked with academic groups and faculty to place boxes in office buildings.

Mutgi said the campaign was surprisingly successful, turning out at least 50 full boxes which filled a closet in the USG office from floor to ceiling.

“In a time when people are checking their own pockets for their next meal on campus, a lot of people sort of surprised me and came out and gave a lot,” Mutgi said. “I don’t think I saw a box around campus that didn’t have something in it.”

Students are still welcome to bring donation items to the USG office in 404 the Union.