“Students at Dartmouth for Haiti Relief” (SDHR) holds kick off event tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall


More than 50 students have collaborated to form “Students at Dartmouth for Haiti Relief” (SDHR). A kickoff event to encourage more volunteers is scheduled for tonight, Sunday, January 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.

President Jim Yong Kim will participate via telephone. The guest speaker is Lee Witters, the Eugene W. Leonard 1921 Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Dartmouth Medical School and a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth.

Students have raised $8,000 since the earthquake devastated Haiti on Tuesday, according to Frances Vernon ’10, president of Dartmouth’s Student Assembly. The donations will go to Partners in Health, a humanitarian relief organization co-founded by President Kim.

Dartmouth students have created specific committees to address fundraising, communications, Upper Valley outreach, and educational outreach. Planning is underway for a community dinner and benefit concert. Each committee is chaired by either a student, a faculty member or an undergraduate paired with a graduate student.

Vernon said she is coordinating with student body presidents of peer institutions, who can track donations of their respective institutions through a special feature on the PIH website.

“While financial donations are very critical right now, we want to make sure that as students of a higher-education institution, we have mobilized a long-term educational response,” said Vernon. “We believe, as students, it is our job to make sure we stay educated about the situation in Haiti.”

The students have also created a Facebook group page, a Twitter feed and a special Blitz mail called D2H (Dartmouth 2 Haiti) to keep up enthusiasm and encourage support for Dartmouth’s medical mission to Haiti.

Vernon said: “As we enter into post-Dartmouth life, we know we will be most effective if we are well prepared global leaders. The situation in Haiti has and continues to provide us with an invaluable learning experience.”

Latarsha Gatlin