The organization collaborated with the American Red Cross to donate dozens of care packages to the affected families. From Oct. 2 to Oct. 10, FASA collected $90 in monetary donations and 132 food and non-food items.
The idea was brought up by FASA Vice President and senior Daniel Breyre during one of their weekly meetings. The grassroots idea eventually developed into a campus wide initiative to spread awareness and raise money. After hearing about FAAR’s efforts, FASA began to utilize Facebook and post fliers for their initiative.
FASA members took several routes to raise money. Boxes were set up in the Corner Store and Common Connections for donations; members tabled at Wilson Commons to collect monetary donations and provide details about the situation in the Philippines; Residential Advisers worked with Residential Life to collect item donations from residents; and WRUR and NJR hosted an open mic event in Hillside Caf last Wednesday night to raise money.
Aside from collecting donations, FASA was concerned with raising the level of awareness on the River Campus. FASA Business Manager and senior Asif Karim pointed out that some students may not be as aware because of the bubble-like nature of the campus.
‘I think that we helped to moderately increase the level of awareness,” Karim said. ‘When people I know would pass by the tables, they would say things such as, “Oh yeah, I remember hearing about donations taking place for the floods.’
Otherwise, I think that as a college student, it’s easy to get lost in your personal bubble.”
For members of FASA, however, the catastrophe had a much more direct effect.
‘This was obviously a dear cause for us, considering the majority of us in FASA have direct ties to the Philippines and were born there or have lots of family there,” FASA President and Take Five Scholar Annabelle Estera said.
‘The hard part is getting people without those same ties to care for a cause you care deeply about. But at the end of the day, it’s all about humanity.”
Ketsana was the most catastrophic typhoon in the Philippines in the last forty years.
With raging winds of 65-miles-per-hour and over 16 inches of rainfall in 24 hours,
Ketsana produced roughly twice as much rain as Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In the aftermath of the storm, thousands of Filipinos were left on their roof tops, awaiting the arrival of rescue boats and aid from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in Okinawa, Japan.
The circumstances worsened when Typhoon Parma hit Northern Philippines one week later with 60 miles-per-hour winds and 13 inches of rainfall within its first six hours, triggering a succession of landslides in Manila as well as its surrounding cities.
The two storms caused the death of roughly 600 Filipinos while 300,000 continue to seek aid and refuge in local evacuation centers in Manila. In an effort to accommodate the excess amount of families seeking shelter, schools were closed and converted into shelter sites.
Due to the flooding and structural failures, rescue efforts faced hardships and setbacks. In response, Philippines’ President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appealed for donations of clothing, food, blankets and moneys. The storms hit just two months after Typhoon Morakot twenty-three people in Manila on August 8.
In its first initiative of this sort, FASA intends on using the campaign as a precedent for future donations to the Philippines. Karim hailed the effort as a success in purpose and results.
‘Knowing that we would potentially be helping people who lost family members and were displaced from their homes really motivated us to go out of our way to try and turn this into a success and make a difference in the lives of others,” Karim said. ‘I think it was successful because every little bit counts. It’s great to know that there were students out there who took time out of their busy schedules to help support this great cause.”
Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.