Law students work to raise funds for Haiti

January 22, 2010Duke Law News

Jan. 28, 2010 — Grim reports of carnage and devastation in Haiti have dominated the news cycle after a serious earthquake leveled Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12. People around the world have tried to find something – anything – that they could do to help the citizens of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The Duke Law community has been no exception. In an initiative supported by various student organizations, students have scrambled to raise funds for quake victims by selling t-shirts, soliciting cash donations, encouraging students to donate Westlaw and LexisNexis points, and holding a fundraiser at Alivia’s Durham Bistro.

“For donations we receive directly, we selected the ClintonBushHaitiFund for its national scale and its promise to sustain efforts through the rebuilding process beyond the initial disaster relief, and the Family Health Ministries for its origin in the Triangle and its tremendous dedication to Haiti,” said Lanta Wang ’11.

Saturday’s fundraiser at Alivia’s raised $1595 for Doctors Without Borders, said Katherine Record ’10.

Some students’ personal ties to the Caribbean nation increased the urgency of their desire to help.

“I was just down in Haiti last year with Family Health Ministries, and had made personal connections during my time there, which is the main driver of my motivation to be involved in the fundraising efforts,” said Wang.

“My father is a surgeon for Doctors Without Borders — he’s in Haiti now,” said Record. “I don’t have any personal connection to the tragedy, fortunately, but I do have that connection to the organization, and I think they’re doing important work.”

Duke Bar Association Community Service Chair Rocio Perez ’11 worked this summer in the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.

“My supervisor, Merrie Archer, ran one of the most successful Haiti reconstruction efforts in Port-au-Prince, and has dedicated 17 years of her life to the situation there,” Perez said. “I felt devastated that all her work seemed to have been destroyed by the earthquake, and like everyone else, was very moved by the images.”

Amy Rublin ’11, who initiated the student response to the disaster, said she simply “felt like community service extends beyond our immediate community at the law school and Durham… and I think it's very difficult to ignore the crisis unfolding [in Haiti].”

Organizations supporting the various fundraising efforts include the Duke Bar Association, the Women Law Students Association, the Coalition Against Gendered Violence, the Refugee Asylum Support Project, and the Health Law Society.

Those wishing to make a contribution can contact Rocio.Perez@duke.edu or Amy.Rublin@duke.edu.
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