Bucknell Magazine: Bucknellians helping Haitians
Posted: May 10, 2010
(Editor's note: From the spring 2010 edition of Bucknell Magazine.)
By Andrew W.M. Beierle
LEWISBURG, Pa. — So powerful was the mammoth earthquake inHaiti, its shockwaves registered at Bucknell's seismic station in Carnegie Hall. || Related story: Bucknell's Haiti Relief Fund raises more than $40,000
The 7.0 killer touched the lives of countless Bucknellians, none more directly than Grace Brown '88. Brown cheated death when the Port-au-Prince office in which she was developing plans to improve the island nation's judicial system withstood the quake while neighboring structures collapsed. Her room at the Hotel Montana vanished in a cloud of dust.
A resident of quake-prone San Francisco, Brown now has an exit strategy for every building she enters — and a new appreciation for every day experiences like kissing her 3-year-old son good night.
Emergency medical response
As Brown evacuated the disaster zone, James Geiling '78 traveled toward it. Now chief of medical services at a Vermont Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Geiling had coordinated the emergency medical response to the Pentagon attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
He used the skills honed there to coordinate relief efforts among international nongovernmental organizations in Haiti. "Believe it or not, the quality of care was exceptional," Geiling says.
On campus, Black Student Union President Marissa Calhoun '10 organized numerous events to benefit quake victims under the umbrella title "Halos for Haiti." The BSU joined other groups to work toward three goals endorsed by President Brian C. Mitchell: to raise funds for organizations working in Haiti, to keep the Bucknell community informed about the situation and to pursue a "sustainable initiative" to address Haitians' longterm challenges.
One Bucknellian's plan to improve the lives of impoverished Haitians was underway even before the Jan. 12 catastrophe. Muyambi Muyambi '11 spent 10 days in Haiti in December 2009 developing a program to distribute free bicycles to transport goods, produce and water.
He returned home just two weeks before disaster struck and says the bikes are now even more urgently needed.
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