Campus Joins Philippines Relief Effort

Scenes of wreckage and devastation from Super Typhoon Haiyan have been splashed across the television, newspapers, and radio waves since the storm struck on Friday, November 8, 2013. People across the world watched as Mother Nature raged in a faraway land.

Quickly, countries joined together and pledged to send aid to the Philippines and their citizens rallied to help. In the United States, there are a number of organizations such as Unicefusa.org, Care.org, Doctorswithoutborders.org, and of course the American Red Cross, which accept donations and can be a beacon in the dark for inexperienced philanthropists lacking direction and guidance.

Now, UWT has joined the effort to raise funds to support typhoon relief as well.

The Filipino American Student Association (FASA) feels the direct impact of the typhoon since many have family living in the Philippines. Officers Mae Oriero, Khate Maranon, and Blessie Panopio shared their concern for loved ones. Maranon worried for her mother’s family and admits it has been “nerve-wracking” to experience, while Oriero recognizes the near miss for the northern Philippines when she says “we’re lucky.” Empathizing with the Filipino community across the sea, UWT’s student organizations have begun coordinating their own relief efforts here at home.

Vice President Monika Delfierro and Community Outreach Coordinator Nauman Mumtaz helped organized a Bubbles Takeover of the bubble tea shop on 1728 Pacific Avenue on November 13, 2013, which donated 100 percent of its profits to Haiyan relief.

The fundraiser was initially intended to fund FASA specifically by accepting 15 percent of proceeds to build the organization’s operating budget.

In light of Super Typhoon Haiyan, FASA quickly came to the conclusion that there were more important concerns than their personal budget, and shifted the goal of fundraising toward relief efforts. When Bubbles manager, Nga Tran, heard about the new goal, she reached out, offering to match their donation percentage and raising the total to 30 percent. Shortly after, she made a generous offer to donate 100 percent of proceeds to the Philippines.

From 12:00-5:00 p.m., money from purchases went straight to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON USA), a grassroots organization working to “protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos by fighting for social, economic, and racial justice and equality” (Nafconusa.org). During those five hours, $457 dollars were raised.

 FASA also teamed up with the Asian-Pacific Islander Student Union (APISU) on November 20, 2013 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in William Phillip Hall for Project IGNITE, which is an acronym for “Initiate Gathering Nationally to Impact Through Example,” to educate the community about natural disaster issues and to raise funds for the Philippines through Child United, an international organization empowering children in developing countries through education.

APISU President Nico Ahkiong estimated roughly 50 people attended the speaking portion of the night and attendance numbered in the hundreds for the candlelight vigil for Never Forgotten, a gathering to commemorate victims of natural disaster, directly following in Commerce Plaza.

Mumtaz says there were grievance counselors available that evening as well for anyone in need. At the FASA holiday party on December 5, 2013, there will again be donation opportunities to raise funds for Child United at WPH from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Ahkiong says, “We’re trying to bring the campus together under a centralized message, uniting the campus, state, national and international community.”

Mumtaz reminds students that donating money is not the only option if they are inspired to help with the relief effort: “There is always something, a niche, a resource available for members of the community who want to contribute.” He says there will also be an opportunity on November 23, 2013 to help box donations from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in Seattle, and even a Reflection Wall poster available for students to sign and write encouraging thoughts to be sent to the Philippines.

Whether it is money, time, or even well wishes, there is something for everyone to give. Mumtaz says that “it is important to show the Philippines that we stand with them.”

Photo by Andy Cox.

Photo by Andy Cox.

Honoring those lost by the typhoon, UWT students participate in the project IGNITE candle lighting which was held at Commerce Plaza on November 20th.

Honoring those lost by the typhoon, UWT students participate in the project IGNITE candle lighting which was held at Commerce Plaza on November 20th.

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