Concordia students have been doing their part to help survivors of the Haiti earthquake, raising over $11,000 in less than two weeks. And though the situation in the Caribbean nation is dire and desperate, some students here have been having fun while contributing.
In addition to filling donation bins around campus and giving individual donations, over 500 students participated in the Concordia Student Union and Arts and Science Federation of Association’s “Bollywood Night” last Wednesday.
The all-you-can-eat-and-drink event raised $3,000 for Haiti.
Most of the money came from the $5 cover charge, with the rest coming from supplementary donations, according to Amir Sheth, VP Social for ASFA.
With past cultural events, the CSU and ASFA divided the revenues. But for last week’s event they decided to donate revenues to the post-earthquake relief efforts.
The donations did not come at a major cost to the CSU, the Union’s president Amine Dabchy said, since the events are already accounted for in the budget.
However, Sheth cautioned that the large crowd, which was twice the anticipated number, and the fact that the money would be given to Haiti could put a strain on ASFA’s events budget.
“This will definitely make it tougher on my budget. We’re going to find a new way to make the next cultural night just as successful, but without spending too much,” he said, insisting the cause merited any potential loss or cost override.
The atmosphere at Bollywood Night, the fourth in a series of “cultural nights” hosted by ASFA and the CSU, was upbeat given the circumstances. The Hive at Loyola was packed with students thronging the free bar and the dance floor.
In spite of the good students did by attending, drinking and enjoying the company of other students was the main objective for some.
By 9 p.m, Concordia students had managed to drink the bar dry, forcing organizers to rush out to buy more beer and whiskey.
Student Amr Nahas said at the event he was there mostly for a good time. “The point of coming was not for Haiti. It’s to party.
But it’s nice to donate money and help,” the business administration student said. “It’s ironic though. They’re raising money for Haiti, and it’s a disaster over there, but everyone in here is having a good time.”
Business commerce student, Hassein El-Asmar, said he wasn’t drinking but came to check out the event. “It’s nice to be able to have a good time, and help out at the same time.”
The CSU also made Thirsty Thursdays, a popular night at Reggie’s, part of the effort. The cover charge was raised to $4, with $2 from every paid entry going to the relief fund.
This raised an additional $1,100, Dabchy said. The balance of the $11,000 came from individual student donations. All donations will be handed over to Oxfam Quebec for distribution.
The two-week drive is a collaboration between the CSU, Ralliement Etudiant Haiti Canada, and the African and Caribbean Students’ Network of Montreal.
Elsewhere on campus, Concordia has been conducting a drive for non-perishable food and clothing. Many of the bins downtown have literally been overflowing with donations.
“The campaign is going very well,” noted Dabchy. He said the items, which include clothing, water bottles and medical supplies, was collected Monday and will be shipped to Haiti, where the Red Cross will be in charge of their distribution.
The federal government announced Jan. 23 it will match individual donations to the earthquake relief. In order to benefit from that, the CSU will put the donations under the names of a few individuals. The CSU will continue to collect money until Jan. 29, making for a minimum donation of $22,000 going to the stricken country.