Students for Haiti brings earthquake survivor to campus

GVL / Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews

Anya Zentmeyer

On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake ripped through the country of Haiti, a 7.0 magnitude monster that resulted in an estimated 316,000 deaths, 300,000 injuries and an additional one million people that were made homeless, as reported by the Haitian government.

United States Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazard program, part of the larger National Earthquake Reduction Program that works with agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation, listed it as the second deadliest earthquake on record.

On Jan. 16, Grand Valley State University student organization Students for Haiti will host an event called “Remembering Haiti” in an effort to maintain the memory of the devastating event. “Remembering Haiti” will feature a discussion with 17-year-old earthquake survivor Warren Arius.

“We wanted to put on this event to bring the light back on Haiti because after CNN left Haiti many forgot about the people who experienced it,” said Cathie Jean, president of the Students for Haiti club, which came to fruition earlier this year with the help of Peter Wampler, a GVSU geology professor.

In November, the group brought in three Haitian natives to talk about the broken education system in the country, and the lack of infrastructure there that makes it nearly impossible for Haitians to access quality healthcare, education and the like.

Students for Haiti also act as advocates of Wampler’s Empowering Haiti Through Education fund, which, upon it’s completion, aims to bring Haitian students to GVSU’s campus to get the education they would not be able to receive in their current financial state.

“We also want people to be aware of what is going on in Haiti right now,” Jean said. “Students should attend this event because it changes everything when you can actually see and hear from those who experienced it in person. It actually brings this event to Grand Valley student and not just through CNN.”

The group will be tabling in the lobby of Kirkhof Center on Monday to raise awareness of the event, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16 in the Kirkhof Center room 0072.

To learn more, visit, or type in GVSU Students for Haiti in the Facebook search bar.
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