The Collegian
Sunday, December 05, 2021

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WIL and SOLS host donation drive to aid earthquake victims in Haiti

<p>Students gather at the forum.</p>

Students gather at the forum.

The University of Richmond’s West Indian Lynk collaborated with UR’s Solidarity Organization for Latinx Students to run a donation drive on campus to aid earthquake victims in Haiti between Oct. 27 and Nov. 5. 

Student organizations could use their Student Organization Budget and Appropriations Committee funds to donate funds and purchase items from an Amazon list until Nov. 12, according to an email the president of SOLS, senior Brianna Silva, sent to leaders of UR student organizations on Nov. 4.

The president of WIL, junior Jordan Richardson, started the donation drive. Richardson said it had been an easy decision to run the donation drive because the earthquake in Haiti at the end of September had resonated with a lot of WIL’s members and the group’s purpose.

“A lot of our members are either from Haiti or have Haitian relations,” Richardson said. “A lot of us are directly from the Caribbean islands. So it definitely came from a place that was more personal. And we were like okay we have this mission to kind of help and this is something that is personal and affects all of us.” 

WIL and SOLS have supported each other’s events in the past, and collaborating on the donation drive came easily, sophomore SOLS member Deisy Contreras wrote in an email to The Collegian.

“WIL and SOLS have always had a good collaboration relationship, so it was natural to pair up as many of our views align,” Contreras wrote. “We also have many cultures and traditions that overlap, as well as we are mostly friends with each other.” 

WIL and SOLS surpassed their collection goals for the donation drive, Richardson said.

“We had originally planned to only collect around $500 in donations and try to get about $1,000 in goods,” Richardson said. “And after collecting inventory and all that, we got about $738 in donations, and in terms of items, we got easily over $3,000. 

Richardson credits the success of the donation drive to the UR community.

“A lot of people really went above and beyond and really donated and helped us out and were willing to table even though they weren’t a part of the organization,” she said. “We’re definitely really grateful on the community’s part, not only the students but, like, people at the dining hall were really supportive of us.” 

WIL’s Instagram, @westindianlynk_ur, posted a linktree with links to suggested organizations to support for anyone who wants to donate to the Haiti earthquake relief but missed the event, Contreras wrote.

Members of WIL who are from Haiti and have family in the Caribbean provided direct contacts in Haiti, so they are able to send the donations more directly to support groups and those in need, Richardson said.

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WIL is now planning on shifting their focus to other Caribbean relief efforts and ways to help Haitian immigrants at the Houston border, Richardson said. Both SOLS and WIL would be open to collaborating on the donation drive again, Richardson and Contreras said.

Contact news writer Katie Castellani at katie.castellani@richmond.edu

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