UB students come together in Haiyan's wake

On November 24, 2013

  • During intermission of the Filipino-American Student Association’s (FASA) annual Barrio Fiesta event on Saturday, FASA served authentic Filipino cuisine to attendees. The club required audience members to donate a minimum of $1 or a non-perishable good. The proceeds will be sent to the Philippines for immediate relief after the devastating effects of the Super Typhoon Haiyan. Courtesy of Reimon Bhuyan

Since being decimated by record-breaking Super Typhoon Haiyan earlier this month, Filipinos are continually working to locate missing loved ones and put their lives back together the way they were before the storm.

Haiyan, a category-5 super typhoon with winds that reached up to 195 miles per hour on Nov. 8, was one of the most intense storms ever documented, according to The Washington Post. The storm has killed at least 5,235 and left over 3.4 million Filipinos displaced from their homes, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

In light of the destruction caused by Haiyan, UB students, the Filipino American Student Association (FASA) in particular, have come together with hopes of making an impact. From taking donations at its annual Barrio Fiesta play, to working alongside other clubs and organizations within the university, FASA hopes to begin making a tangible difference for those affected by Haiyan.

This year's Barrio Fiesta on Saturday, titled Pangarap, was an evening of singing, dancing and celebrating Filipino culture. Aside from the play itself, FASA sold plates of authentic Filipino cuisine to add to the experience for all attendees.

FASA required the audience to donate a minimum of $1 or a non-perishable good during Barrio Fiesta's intermission to help the cause. The proceeds are going to be sent to the Philippines for immediate relief. Besides money, FASA encouraged attendees to bring supplies that could help those affected by the typhoon, including water purifiers, blankets, tents, generators and others.

This initial wave of aid by FASA is part of a larger effort started by District Four of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (F.I.N.D.).

District Four is an overarching body that encompasses other Filipino clubs in the Upstate New York area, and was the main catalyst that worked to synchronize Filipino organizations and their donation efforts throughout the region, according to Adrianne Marquez, a senior nursing student.

"[District Four] started this first," Marquez said. "We obviously wanted to do it regardless of who wanted to start it, but it just so happened that [District Four] approached us with this idea."

In addition to money, nonperishable food items and various supplies students have collected so far, Marquez said the junior and senior classes of the School of Nursing have donated extra medical supplies to be sent as soon as possible to areas in need.

Aside from students affiliated with FASA, Charrisse Morada, a junior accounting major and FASA's treasurer, noted how many other individuals and clubs on campus have approached FASA and were willing to help fundraise for the typhoon relief.

"Just going through our general email that the Buffalo FASA uses, there are just people that I didn't even know from our school - they just offered their help," Morada said. "It's really nice to see that, even in times of devastation."

Marquez echoed Morada's sentiment, saying how good it was to see other clubs that had nothing to do with Filipino culture willing to join together and aid in FASA's efforts. The members of Lambda Kappa Sigma - the professional pharmacy society for women - have expressed interest in organizing fundraising events such as bake sales.

Corinne Zee, a junior exercise science major and the FASA vice president, added that other members of the International Council, particularly those in the Bangladeshi Student Association (BSA), have also been helpful throughout the collection of donations and plan to continually support FASA. BSA began making plans to fundraise for typhoon relief even without FASA knowing, and has since come to FASA on its own stating it will be assisting in the collection of money and nonperishable items, according to Zee.

"As Bangladesh is also a country that is affected greatly by typhoons and we do know the level of destruction and despair that is caused by a storm of this massive size," said Taz Hossain, a sophomore political science major and president of BSA, in an email. "When I was contacted by some of my members to do something - anything - to fundraise for typhoon relief, I had no qualms about getting in contact with Corinne and referring my members to her; I felt it was my duty to help out, not just club-wise, but on a basic human level."

Though the deadline for FASA's initial collection of donations for District Four has already passed, FASA will continue to collect money and other nonperishable items throughout the year. Those interested in donating can contact FASA for more information.


email: news@ubspectrum.com

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