Hope for Boston
UB students plan karaoke fundraiser for bombing victims
In about a month's time, Buffalo's annual marathon will take place. Thomas Scott, a senior political science major, said it's scary to think what happened during the Boston Marathon could happen anywhere.
On Patriots' Day this year, two bombs exploded during the annual Boston Marathon near the finish line. Scott, along with members of the Buffalo community and UB students, gathered at VIP Karaoke on Thursday night to raise funds in light of the recent tragedy.
Andrew Tan, a senior business administration major, planned the fundraiser to raise money for The One Fund.
This foundation set up by the Boston mayor to gather donations for the victims of the Boston bombings as well as to honor the heroes that helped out at the incident, according to secure.onefundboston.org.
In total, they raised $530.
The event started at 9:30 p.m., and the atmosphere in the room was harmonious as everyone sat together eating and drinking. All proceeds from ticket sales were donated, while 10 percent of bar and food tab went to The One Fund Inc.
Various audience members put on impromptu performances throughout the night. Those in attendance included students from Student Association international clubs, brothers and sisters of different fraternities and sororities and members of SA, according to Tan.
SA Assistant Treasurer Darwinson Valdez, a senior philosophy major was impressed by the turnout because it took place on a weekday night.
"I feel like you can see how the international community comes together even when an attack is not even in their own country," Valdez said. "I'm a senior and I have classes on Friday nights but I just wanted to come out and sing a little bit. I think it's an excellent idea."
After midnight, the members of UB Glee Club performed their rendition of The Beatles song "Imagine" for the crowd as a tribute to the victims and heroes of the Boston bombings.
Judy Mai, a junior health and human services major and member of UB Glee Club, felt close to the tragedy that occurred in Boston.
"Boston is not too far and there's a kid who died and there were people running for charity," Mai said. "[It's] the last thing you'd expect to happen, and it happened."
Scott agrees with Mai. As a marathon runner, the incident "hit close to home" for him when news about the bombings surfaced. He sees the bombings as an incident that could have taken place anywhere and finds it "scary" something like that could happen in Buffalo, too.
The bombings caused three deaths, including a Chinese international student from Boston University. Tan, who is also an international student at UB, said he wanted to "give back" especially because of how "welcomed" he has felt since coming to America to study two years ago. He wanted to show how people who have been welcomed to America could initiate fundraisers for a good cause.
"Just as I was about to graduate, this incident hit," Tan said. "I felt for them because I didn't feel that they deserved it. I want to repay the fact that I was so welcomed by this country to study here. Terror may be the doing of one, or in this case two brothers, but peace, love and harmony should be the doing of the rest of us."
The fundraiser was planned quickly, and the community was invited less than a week before the event according to Tan. With the help of some personal friends, Tan managed to draw a huge crowd, despite the lack time taken to plan for the event. However, Tan said he had consciously set out to have a closer deadline for himself so as to not let the fundraiser lose the meaning.
Mai wants the event to take place every year in order for it to serve as a reminder for all to "raise peace and not war." She thinks it is imperative for everyone to keep talking about the attacks and not just let it be in the media for a while.
"What we can do is to spread the message to the community ... at the end of the day, money can rebuild a city but love can make a city even more powerful and enjoyable," Tan said.
Due to the fundraiser's success, Tan has faith that UB students possess the potential of being leaders and forerunners of spreading hope, peace and harmony.