student life

Forum raises typhoon funds


Students gather to discuss the catastrophe that struck Philippines at the Bayanihan for Haiyan: Typhoon Haiyan Disaster Teach in and Forum and Fundraiser on Wednesday at the Solarium at the Indiana Memorial Union. Sonakshi Sinha Buy Photos

In response to the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8, Bloomington’s Filipino community is urging people to give help and give it now.

IU’s Asian Culture Center organized a panel of speakers for a forum and fundraiser Wednesday.

Speakers representing organizations across campus encouraged students to consider many perspectives when looking at catastrophic events such as Super Typhoon Haiyan.

A bayanihan in Filipino culture is a tradition of moving houses from dangerous locations to safety, said Cindy Berin, a member of the Bloomington Filipino

“I am speaking on behalf of my family,” Berin said. “We are very, very lucky to hear from all of them.”

Professor Michael Hamburger of the IU Department of Geological Sciences said the Philippines were vulnerable because of its geographic location. The string of more than 7,000 islands were barraged by the storm for more than 15 hours.

Inland, much of the damage was caused by high winds, rain and flooding.

“What is really needed now is immediate help from food, water and medical care,” Hamburger said.

Professor Nick Cullather of the Department of History told stories of his time spent as a student in Leyte, a province in the Phillipines and the site of one of the largest naval battles in World War II, he said. Buildings that managed to survive the war were destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan.

Stephanie DeBoer, a professor the Department of Communication and Culture said social media is being used as a tool to call humanity to act, and technology helps people get involved.

“This is a tragedy as much as it is a TV spectacle,” DeBoer said.

Professor Leslie Lenkowsky of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, discussed the most efficient and helpful ways to provide aid during a disaster.

“It is not enough just to give, we must also give well,” Lenkowsky said. “What people give matters at least as much as how much.”

Purdue professor Daniel Aldrich shared his experience as a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Aldrich found that even when everything was destroyed, strong localized networks were the key to helping a community recover from the tragedy.

Despite widespread media coverage, many people don’t know just how bad the situation is, said Patrick Santos, president of the Filipino Student Association.

“Sometimes they don’t get as in-depth as they should,” Santos said.

The Asian Culture Center planned the fundraiser, called “Bayanihan for Hayian,” with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dhar India Studies Program, SPEA, the Department of Geological Sciences and the Kelley School of Business, according to a press release.

Following its Sunday night benefit concert, the Asian Culture Center raised more than $5,000 in jars set out at the event alone.

James Wimbush, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, said people realize who their friends are when they are in need.

“Our students, faculty and friends are still wondering about their families back home,” he said. “We care.”

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