After Hurricane Matthew, Griot Institute urges campus to help Haiti

Mamta Badlani, Staff Writer

Only a few years after an earthquake resulted in hospitals flooded with displaced citizens seeking shelter and treatment, Haiti once again has fallen victim to a natural disaster. Hurricane Matthew has killed hundreds and instigated panic over a potential rise in cholera outbreaks.

The University’s Griot Institute for Africana Studies has published posts on the University’s Message Center urging the campus to donate to relief efforts in Haiti. The Institute provides faculty and student intellectual and creative engagement with elements of African arts, culture, and history.

By listing reputable sources of charities to donate to, the post offers a chance for the the community to contribute in ways which will be of use to those in need.

The Griot Institute has contributed to humanitarian efforts in the past including organizing a donation of breast cancer self-exam shower cards in the residence halls, and a community drive associated with Martin Luther King Jr. Week this past January.

Director of the Griot Institute and Professor of English Carmen Gillespie, said that the community has been enthusiastic and responsive in their desire to help the affected people in Haiti.

“In my experience, Bucknell is an incredibly generous community. From Civic Engagement, to the students, faculty, and staff who participate in the University’s service learning trips, to Panhellenic fundraisers, to the annual United Way campus campaign, Bucknell consistently demonstrates a willingness to help and to do something to try to make a difference,” Gillespie said. 

“In this spirit and with this model, the Griot hopes to draw our attention to situations and communities in need that may not receive the attention and support that they need,” she continued.

At the moment, the Institute has plans for two major student-led service initiatives, both initiated from Griot’s Bucknell in Caribbean summer study abroad program. The first project collaborates with the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda for a historic preservation initiative to create a digital map of more than two hundred sugar mills sites that had previously dominated the island. The second project involves efforts to construct a playground and community garden for children of the Violet O. Jeffers Nicholls Primary School on the island of Nevis.

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