Students stuggle for Haiti support

The Davis Center’s Silver Maple Ballroom greeted students with a wall-sized projection of the Haitian flag and Salsa music, as students came together to show support for Haiti.The evening provided plenty of entertainment, but what it  lacked was attendees, audience members said.”It’s hard because there are so many things to attend on campus that fit your interest,” Anna Smith, an audience member whose friend performed a dance later in the night, said. “I am disappointed more people aren’t here, but I understand.”Despite the evening’s full agenda, including multiple musical performances, a performance by UVM’s Salsa and Swing Society, a lecture on Haiti’s history, raffles and refreshments, there were only about 30 audience members not directly involved in the program.”I really hadn’t heard about the benefit, I wasn’t even sure it was going on,” freshman Fiona Byrne, who attended the program for an extra-credit assignment, said. “I think publicity is really a difficult thing on campus.”Kim Davy, the a director of the Caribbean house who helped organized the event, said she did not expect a large turnout, but that the cause was important to everyone there.”No one in the Caribbean House is directly affected by the Haiti disaster, but because we represent the entire Caribbean and we want to support our people, we feel it is important to help,” she said.Many of the audience members said they were there to support friends who were performing or in one of the Living/Learning programs that arranged the benefit.The residential learning communities — the Caribbean House, Dewey House of Civic Engagement and the Dance House — organized the event to continue support and awareness.  “Tonight’s theme is to show how powerful Haiti is. They are more than just the images we see on TV,” Janelle Morris, one of the Caribbean House program directors, said. “We need to continue to do our part to rebuild Haiti.”Dr. Learie Nurse, a Student Life staff member, kicked off the night’s entertainment with a performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Students in the audience sat silent as his voice echoed in the large conference room.”The performances have been fun,” Byrne said. “It is nice to see a lot of different performances and clubs come together, especially ones you might not even know about otherwise.” Toward the end of the night, audience members were asked to make a circle, sing and to participate in a lecture on Haiti’s history. The groups asked audience members for a donation of at least one dollar and sold homemade jewelry for additional funds, Caribbean House member Mara Zocco said.During her closing presentation, Morris concluded with a message of hope and a call to action.”Let us rebuild together, and bring back a nation of heroes,” she said.