McGill ramps up Haitian relief initiatives

Two Haitians use crowbars, shovels and their hands to clear rubble in an attempt to reach survivors at the Montana hotel that collapsed after an earthquake measuring 7 plus on the Richter scale rocked Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Jan. 12. / Photo: United Nations Development Programme

By McGill Reporter Staff

Haitian relief efforts are in full swing at McGill, with new initiatives cropping up each day.

For example, the Education Undergraduate Society has combined forces with the Education Graduate Student Society to spearhead a winter clothing drive for Haitian refugees expected to arrive in Montreal in the coming days, weeks and months. People are encouraged to drop-off used winter clothes in the lobby of the Education building at 3700 McTavish.

Overall, the McGill community has responded to fundraising efforts for the victims of the January 12 earthquake by opening their hearts and their wallets.   The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), for instance, has already exceeded its goal of raising $6000 for Oxfam Quebec. As of this morning AUS had gotten more than $8000 in donations. Until Jan. 25, they will canvas classrooms for donations, and there will be jugs in the AUS Lounge (Leacock, B-12) for collecting funds. They are also collecting donations at the Roddick Gates tomorrow, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will host a Bar des Arts in the Lounge on Jan. 21 from 4 to 9 p.m. Finally, on Jan. 25, the Society will hold a Bake Sale in the Leacock lobby and a clothing drive for Haitian refugees from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The effort put forth by both students and staff in the McGill Arts community has been overwhelming,” said AUS President Karina Gould. “Although Arts is spearheading the efforts, we have received tremendous support from other faculty associations such as Science, Law and Education as well as student groups on campus like the Caribbean Student Society, Oxfam McGill, and the Spanish and Latin American Student Association.”

Starting Monday, McGill Security Services agents will criss-cross both the downtown and Mac campuses with red buckets collecting for the Red Cross. They are coordinating their canvassing with the student groups, and students will join the Security staff from time to time next week in a gesture of solidarity.

“Members of the McGill community are renowned for their generosity and with the sheer numbers, we feel we will be able to raise great sums for the Red Cross in support of Haiti relief.  Please look out for our Security personnel and give generously,” said Pierre Barbarie, Associate Director of Security Services, noting that the high visibility provided by their uniforms should make it easy for people to find them.

Furthermore, Marion Butler, eCommunications Associate Editor at Development and Alumni Relations, is helping organize a pair of benefit concerts in conjunction with Health Partners International Canada (HPIC) and the Salvation Army to raise money to help HPIC deliver medicines to hospitals and clinics in Haiti and for use by Canadian doctors going to Haiti. The concerts will include classical, brass band and jazz music, as well as traditional Haiti folk music arrangement.

The first concert will be held on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Westview Bible Church, 16789 Pierrefonds, Blvd., in Pierrefonds. The Jan. 31 concert will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Snowdon Baptist Church, 5275 Earnscliffe Ave., in Montreal. People will be asked to make donations at the door.

The concerts are being held to raise money to help HPIC in the delivery of medicines to hospitals and clinics in Haiti and for use by Canadian doctors going to Haiti. For more information contact Marilynn St-Onge at 514-288-2848 ext. 2272 or Marion Butler at

For their part, the Law Students Associations and the Law Faculty’s Human Rights Working Group are collecting donations at the end of classes, and have set up a “toonie trail” in the Atrium of Chancellor Day Hall – a long line of adhesive tape they hope to fill with $2 coins. The fundraiser will run all week. Monies collected will go to Oxfam and Médecins sans frontières, with the goal of raising at least $2500.

Finally, the student club Humanity First will hold a fundraising dinner on Jan. 30, with all proceeds going to Haiti relief. All are encouraged to meet club members, sign up for the dinner and/or donate in person on Jan. 21, from 1-5 p.m., on the first floor of the student centre on McTavish St. For more information, to donate, or to get tickets, please contact Nabiel Mir at

Individuals looking to make a donation can also contact the Canadian Red Cross. For more information go to