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Haiti quake didn’t move students to help

Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. It is a place where malnutrition is an everyday occurrence and less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water.On Jan.12, 2010 nearly 15 miles southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince, the people of Haiti were hit with an earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Since then people all over the United States have gone out of their way to help this impoverished nation, whether its celebrities or even just everyday middles class citizens.

When Gail Regan, an assistant professor of psychology here at Castleton, heard about this tragedy she jumped at the chance to try to help make a difference. Regan was eager to start fund-raising, but students across campus were not as enthusiastic as Regan was expecting them to be.

“I thought they (students) would be anxious to give,” she said and then paused for a few seconds. “I was wrong.”

Regan’s first attempt was on Jan. 21 at convocation. A donation table led to $550 being donated, but Regan couldn’t help but notice the lack of interest from the student body, especially the younger students.

“Our donations at convocation were people in administration, faculty and some older students,” she said.

She then tried again the next day at a men’s and women’s basketball home game. This attempt was even less successful. Only $270 was raised and Regan said groups of students would walk by and not even acknowledge the booth. Others would simply pull out their pockets and claim to have no money. Regan also had a booth on Feb. 19 at a men’s hockey game where only $32 was donated all evening.

Despite the lack of interest, some students are getting involved and are trying to help Regan raise money.

Castleton student Sarah Vella claims even though they didn’t raise the amount of money they strived for, any sort of donation can help.

“We did not raise a whole lot of money, but at least it was an extra hundred bucks they didn’t have before,” Vella said.

Vella said sometimes living in such a small and rural state can make it hard for people to understand the living conditions people have to live in around the world.

“I think it’s hard for people to fathom the real situation. It almost seems like fiction to us in Vermont,” she said.

Another student who became involved is junior Rosie Williams. She has her own idea why students don’t seem to want to get involved.

“I think a lot of students probably feel like its either not their responsibility or that even if they did help it wouldn’t make a real difference,” Williams said.

Williams urges students to get involved because even the smallest donation could change someone’s life.

“Even if a student raised enough money to help only one family for only one day, probably none of us could imagine how much that means to them,” she said.

If anyone would like to get involved with helping Haiti or wants to make a donation contact Gail Regan at gail.regan@castleton.edu. Regan also said a benefit concert to raise money is in the works, but a date hasn’t been set.