Uniting for a common goal
Students and faculty alike gathered in the Student Union Thursday to bring awareness and raise money for Haiti.
The event, called Carnival for a Cause, was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the SU lobby. Proceeds made will go towards the Haiti Relief Fund, which is run through the American Red Cross.
The carnival portion featured a combo slide, a jousting ring, popcorn and pizza, all of which could be enjoyed after purchasing a certain number of tickets.
Participants and passersby could hear the yelps of mirthful jousters, blaring of fun music, and crunching of popcorn across the SU.
The Campus Ministry Association was the sponsor of the event. The CMA incorporates all recognized religious chapters on campus including Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Jehovah's Witness.
"Our goal of the event is to benefit all students. All proceeds [we raise] will go to Haiti relief," said Joe Davis, Co-convener of CMA and Director of the Hillel chapter on campus.
For a campus that usually appears so divided, the community and camaraderie of so many different faiths working together towards a common goal was both refreshing and inspiring.
The CMA attempted to draw students into the event by displaying graphic images of the devastation in Haiti, and the great deal of assistance the small island still needs.
Many attending the event were inquisitive as to why an event aiding Haiti would be held now, a considerable amount of time after the earthquake. Tim Stewart, the campus director for campus ambassadors, explained why.
"We want to raise awareness, because Haiti has [recently] fallen below the radar. The situation is just as bad as it was, if not worse," Stewart said. "We want to make [their situation] known as best we can."
The students that were enjoying the festivities and visiting the concessions appeared to have no complaints. Others, however, disagreed with certain aspects of the event and the entertainment costs not equating with the poor turnout.
"[I think] it is an irresponsible waste of money," said Jennifer Thompson, a freshmen English major. "The cost to rent everything [the rides, games, and supplies] won't even out with all the money they raise. I know it's for a good cause, but with the [recent University at Buffalo] budget cuts, I don't know how they can want to spend and raise all this money that doesn't really affect myself or UB."
Tim Lewis, a freshmen nuclear medicine technology major, agreed with Thompson's views to a point, but considered a different angle.
"I do see [this event] as a bit of a waste, but it's important to help [Haiti] out. After the earthquakes in Chile, Taiwan, Thailand, and Mexico, as well as the volcano eruption in Iceland, [Haiti] has gone out of focus," Lewis said. "[I didn't see] a lot of people participating, and [from the looks of it] there are going to be a lot of leftover supplies and food."
Lewis explained that he has donated some $50 to Haiti and the other recent disasters through separate on campus events, most notably the Latin American Student Association.
"I don't always see college students being active or donating [to international charity relief]," Lewis said. "It's always the same people from the same clubs on campus, that's probably why this event didn't take off."
Despite the criticism it garnered, some students, such as Mark Shehata, a freshmen biomedical science major, took the event for what it was and had a genuinely enjoyable time.
"[The carnival] was a lot of fun. It's for [an important] cause, and that's always good," Shehata said.