On Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria, a category four storm, made direct landfall in Puerto Rico and devastated the surrounding areas. Thousands of people there are still without power, still lacking food and water, and are also deprived of various other supplies needed for daily life.
“We just lost power, a bunch of us, for a couple of days,” said Molly Perkins, a psychology graduate student here at Castleton. “So I think that helps us recognize how awful it is to lose power, and they’ve been out of power for 42 or 43 days, so that just gives us a little glimmer in to how it feels for them so I think it’ll feel good to help out.”
Castleton’s psychology department is holding a drive to collect goods to send to Puerto Rico to aid them in rebuilding what was demolished.
This is the first time that these psychology students have done anything of this nature.
“I’d imagine it’ll feel pretty gratifying. It’s a good feeling to help out,” said graduate student Corey Brimmer.
“Our professor, Dr. Newell, she’s a school psychologist, so she’s been kind of helping us figure out how to make School Psychology Awareness Week something prominent on campus. She has a friend who lives in Puerto Rico, so she made that connection about how we can give throughout this week and that can be our focus,” Perkins said.
If it weren’t for School Psychology Awareness Week, the psychology students would still feel the need to help out a country in need, they said.
“Our school is already doing fund-raisers for Puerto Rico. I think the reason we’re getting on board is because Dr. Newell thought of the idea and had a personal connection with someone who’s there without power,” said Brimmer.
There is some healthy competition between fundraisers and donation drives on campus.
“The nursing students and the athletic department both have a competition going on for Puerto Rico and Honduras. They’re collecting things those countries need, we’re trying to get involved with that and kind of spread it out a little bit more,” Brimmer said.
The psychology students will have a table set up at most of the home basketball games in order to stretch out the effort to get Puerto Rico back on track, Perkins said.
A van will also be set up outside of Jeffords Hall for the whole duration of School Psychology Awareness Week, which is Nov. 13-17.
Items needed include bottled water, non-perishable food, baby food, over the counter medications, first aid supplies, diapers, wipes and batteries. There will also be a collection box in the psychology department of the Jeffords building.
The first game they will be collecting at will be Nov. 17, and instead of paying to get in, attendees can enter by bringing one of the above items.