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LTE: A Thanks For The Contributions To Hurricane Relief

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013 02:12

Last month, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, killed thousands, and uprooted millions of people from their homes. Though media coverage was robust at first, the journalists and television crews have packed up and left, and a disaster that was only briefly at the center of attention has dropped completely from our national consciousness. Not so at Boston College. Our community’s response to the calamity makes me proud to call myself a BC Eagle.

 As soon as the full scope of disaster was made known, I have been blessed to work with a dedicated group of student leaders and administrators to help the survivors. With your support, we have been able to exceed our $10,000 goal, and though a final tally is to be determined, we have raised $11,000-$12,000 out of the generosity of the community at large at a number of co-sponsored events, online portal, and dining hall point drive. These funds will be disbursed to Catholic Relief Services and other trusted organizations. I know of few other American universities that have raised as much money from a student-driven initiative in so short a time.

 Boston College’s contributions have not just ended with the writing of a check or the plunking down of a few dollars; at every step along the way, people have been interested in doing even more to help our Philippine brethren. Students studying abroad have donated their time and effort to create relief packages for families. Alumni have been spreading the word and making donations. Parents have asked their children to include contributions from their wallets as well. Acquaintances, only vaguely familiar with BC, have given us much encouragement. Many have already supported other charity drives for the Philippines, and a few will even be traveling to the Philippines themselves during winter break. Though not many of our students are Filipinos, one might have thought that the people of the Philippines were members of our Boston College family.

 Most importantly, our community has enlivened the indomitable spirit of the Filipino through our thoughts and prayers. More than anything else, even the smallest actions that we have done and the briefest moments we have dedicated to the Philippines are greatly appreciated. Messages to the BC Typhoon Haiyan Relief Initiative Facebook page and private correspondence overflow with sentiments of gratitude, appreciation, and prayers for our own well-being here on the Heights. Reading such words convinces me of the uplifting power of prayer, even though we are located on opposite sides of the world.

 What a blessing it has been to work with so many student groups over the past month! UGBC, PSBC, RHA, Asian Caucus, ALC, ACF, CVSA, BSF, ICBC, GZBC, SEASA, D1, NOTH, The Heights, and many more organizations have gone above and beyond the call of duty to co-sponsor events, get the word out, contribute manpower, and inform their membership. And of course, we could never have mobilized so quickly or had such an impact without the advice and guidance of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, led by Mr. Dan Ponsetto, the Student Programs Office, Campus Ministry, and other University offices. It has been immensely humbling and inspiring to serve with everyday students, faculty, and staff to make this a wider-community initiative.

 Truly, Boston College has shown it cares. It amazes me how in our 150th year the driving principle of being men and women for other is expressed not only in local terms but can also be felt halfway around the world. Our initial push to assist the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan is just beginning. The rebuilding effort will take a long time. I hope that community will continue to support the Philippines in whatever way they can. Thank you, Boston College, and as you celebrate the holidays, have a Merry Christmas—or as they say in the Philippines, Maligayang Pasko.

 

Matthew Alonsozana

Executive Vice President of UGBC

A&S ’14

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