November 18, 2013

By Andy Hirsch

LEWISBURG, Pa. — When Quinn Blanco '15 first heard a typhoon was headed for his hometown in the Philippines, he wasn't too concerned. "We get them all of the time," Blanco said, "so I didn't understand why this was a big deal." But as Typhoon Haiyan moved in and meteorologists started describing it as one of the strongest storms the world has ever seen, he started to worry.

"I was chatting with my mom on Facebook, and she was talking about having to take the TV antenna down and making jokes," Blanco said. "But then the storm got closer, and we started to realize how strong it was going to be. Around 2 or 3 a.m., my mom went offline ... the power got cut off."

For a scary few hours Blanco lost contact with his family in Iloilo, a city just south of the storm's path. He relied on pictures and reports from the internet to try to stay up-to-date on what was happening. Later that morning, he received a text message that his family was okay.

"It was a huge relief. Then all of the sudden it hit me. I had seen the pictures, I knew the extent of the devastation — I needed to do something to help," said Blanco, a chemical engineering and management major.

He reached out to Judy Romero '14, whose home in the Philippines was a good distance from the track of the storm, and spared any damage. Still, she was having similar thoughts and wanted to help the people back home.

"It felt wrong looking at the news, seeing what was happening, and then being here just going through my daily routine," said Romero, a biochemistry major.

She and Blanco started to conceive an on-campus benefit to raise money for the relief effort there. They began reaching out to performance groups and individuals on campus to see if they could help. The response was overwhelming, and within two days plans were in place for "Passion for the Philippines: A Fundraiser."

The event, co-sponsored by Bucknell's Filipino Club, Bucknell Student Government's Committee on Diversity and Sigma Chi, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 9 p.m. in Hunt Formal. It will feature performances by the Bison Chips, the Offbeats, Two Past Midnight, Silhouettes and several other groups and individuals. || Click here to see an event poster with more information.

The event will also feature images of the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan, along with brief intermissions during which the emcees will discuss the current situation in the Philippines, the ongoing relief efforts and the ways in which people can help.

"Passion for the Philippines: A Fundraiser," is free and open to the public; attendees will be encouraged to make a donation to the American Red Cross, and designate that donation for relief efforts in the Philippines. Donations are being accepted through the International Student Services office. For more information, call 570-577-3794.

"We're not sure what to expect," Romero said, "We just want to help however we can."

*Satellite image courtesy of NOAA

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