4/16/2014 12:00:15 PM

Siena Students Mobilize for Typhoon Relief

Monday, December 09, 2013

By Mark Adam

For days, Taryn Dwyer ’16 was uncertain if her family survived Typhoon Haiyan, the devastating storm that slammed the Philippines last month. According to the United Nations, it killed more than 5,230 people. Dwyer was worried about her grandmother and two uncles who live in San Carlos City and her cousins in Cebu City. Finally, her cousin DJ found Wi-Fi and sent a Facebook message to her sister Krista, saying that everyone in the family was okay.

“I cried,” Dwyer said. “It was the most relief I’ve felt all semester.”

Dwyer has visited her family twice in the Philippines and her grandmother spent summers at her home in New Jersey. She has relied on the support of friends and classmates in the troubling time after the typhoon.

Since Typhoon Haiyan, Dwyer has found a way to help victims of the disaster. As events coordinator for Siena’s Asian Students Association, she mobilized students for a variety of fundraisers. Even before Haiyan hit, students had decided to direct fundraiser money to the Philippines. The disaster accelerated the need.

Dwyer organized a first aid kit drive so she could send supplies to a church in San Carlos City. She collected hand sanitizer, bandages, gauze pads, antibiotics ointment, medical tape and Benadryl.

The Damietta Cross-Cultural Center raised more than $500 through the talent showcase Fall Fusion and a Shake it for the Philippines Zumba fundraiser, said director Christa Grant. All money will be donated to Catholic Relief Services.

“Knowing that our own Siena students are directly impacted by Typhoon Haiyan gave us another reason to help and organize any relief effort we could,” Grant said.

The fundraisers are not limited to student clubs or affinity groups on campus. Assistant Professor of Studio Art Liz Blum, M.F.A., had students from two digital photo courses donate their work. Prints of their photos were matted and sold. The student work raised $300 for the American Red Cross’ aid for the Philippines.

The Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women organized a holiday Fair Trade sale, with 10% of their proceeds going toward the relief effort through Catholic Relief Services.

Residential Life raised $363 through Penny Wars, a fundraising competition among students in residence halls.

While students and employees across campus gave time and money to the relief effort, Dwyer acknowledges the Siena community’s compassion.

“It’s nice that the community is giving emotional support as well. It’s not something that I really expected,” Dwyer said.

Support for Typhoon Haiyan victims will continue next semester with a fine wine and desserts fundraiser sponsored by the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center and the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development, and the Asian Students Association’s annual ExplorAsia Show.

Photo credit:  EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection



Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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