Saint Michael’s raises $33,574 for the crisis in Haiti

first_imgChallenged as to how to respond to the horrific crisis in Haiti, the Saint Michael’s College community came together with a large outpouring of generosity from all quarters in rapid time. Prevented from travelling to Haiti, as many wished to do, instead students, faculty and staff put programs in place to raise funds and collected $33,574 for medical and humanitarian relief in about 10 days.Saint Michael s Haitian connectionsMany Saint Michael s connections with Haiti intensified these drives. Three SMC faculty members are Haitian and have extended family and many friends on the Caribbean island. Sixteen Haitians studied English at Saint Michael s from August 23 to October16, 2009. And a Haitian author who had once been an SMC Distinguished Visiting Scholar and his wife both lost their lives in the earthquake.Saint Michael s has held a week-long Haitian Cultural Festival during many spring semesters since 1994 when then-Haitian President Jean-Bertrande Aristide was the featured key-note speaker at the festival.Source of the giftsSaint Michael s financial response included an immediate challenge gift of $10,000 announced three days after the January 12th earthquake, by the priests of the Society of St. Edmund. Inspired by that generosity, students, faculty and staff, and worshippers attending Mass at Saint Michael s, responded with gifts totaling $13,364. Additionally, a Brahms Requiem benefit concert, at Saint Michael s on January 23rd raised another $10,210, bringing the total Saint Michael s gift, as of January 27, to $33,574.The gift was delivered on January 27 to Catholic Relief Services, $28,499, and to Partners in Health, $5,075.Spearheaded in large part by the Rev. Brian Cummings, SSE, the fund drive started with the priests challenge gift, followed by an interfaith prayer service and a movement amongst student groups. Students set up awareness tables and donation jars around campus. Then the local music community, inspired by soprano Shyla Nelson, came together with over 200 area musicians for a fundraising concert.Once-in-a-lifetime, musical/spiritual event in VermontFull chorus, full orchestra, soloists, The Green Mountain Mahler Festival, Live from the Core, and Bread & Puppet Theater, enacting the theme of death, resurrection and hope, all came together to perform Brahms Requiem in the awe-inspiring and acoustically superb Saint Michael’s College Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel. It was an astonishing event that is never likely to be repeated in Vermont. The two-hour performance by professional musicians, playing and singing for a cause, was breath-taking. Many in the 700-person audience were in tears at the end.Peter Schumann, founder and director of the Bread & Puppet Theater, performed and led his troupe, who created their full-puppet spiritual interpretation of Haiti s catastrophe and Brahms Requiem within a week s time.The college community is very anxious to continue to find ways to support our brothers and sisters in Haiti, and is in continuing conversation about the possibility of carrying out educational programs, as guided by Haitian educators, in the years to come.Learn What Matters at Saint Michael s College, The Edmundite Catholic liberal arts college, www.smcvt.edu(link is external). Saint Michael s provides education with a social conscience, producing graduates with the intellectual tools to lead a successful, purposeful life that will contribute to peace and justice in our world. Founded in 1904 by the Society of St. Edmund and headed by President John J. Neuhauser, Saint Michael s is identified by the Princeton Review as one of the nation s Best 371 Colleges. It is one of 270 colleges and universities nationwide, and one of only 20 Catholic colleges, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Saint Michael s has 1,900 undergraduate students, some 500 graduate students and 100 international students. Saint Michael s students and professors have received Rhodes, Woodrow Wilson, Pickering, Guggenheim, Fulbright, and other grants. The college is one of the nation s Best Liberal Arts Colleges as listed in the 2009 U.S. News & World Report rankings. Saint Michael s is located just outside Burlington, Vermont, one of America s top college towns.Source: St Michael’s. 1.29.2010-30-last_img