Campus-wide forum to address Haiti earthquake



haiti:On the first day of a three-day national mourning period, some Haitians went to the National Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to pray and fast. :McClatchy Tribune

Timothy Sandoval

A few days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez sent out a message to the entire campus calling on it to do whatever it can to help the people of Haiti.

Some on campus have answered that call.

“For me, that was a clear call,” said Don Taylor, director of Academic Programs and Global Engagement and lead organizer of the Helping Haiti Forward forum. “I could not just sit there and wait for something else to happen based on what the president asked.”

The campus-wide forum will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday in Hinde Auditorium. A panel of experts will speak about the subject.

The panel includes a former Haitian prime minister, a provost of a university in Haiti that was destroyed in the earthquake, the head of a non-governmental agency that assists Haiti, and several Haitian professors.

The discussion will focus on the history of Haiti’s challenges before the earthquake, and what can be done to help Haiti move forward and recover.

“The central theme is education, global awareness, and engagement,” Taylor said. “Something that contributes to our values as global citizens.”

Taylor said the panel would probably point out ways to donate to Haiti as well.

“We don’t want to make it the focus,” Taylor said. ” But of course we cannot be blind to the need for charitable assistance in Haiti.”

One of the forum’s main goals is to engage the entire university, not just certain departments, on the subject of moving Haiti forward.

Organizers of the event also hope to engage the 22 other California State University campuses in the discussion, as they will be available to participate online.

Some of the participants, like the former prime minister and provost will join the discussion from Haiti through an electronic program called Illuminate, which is similar to Skype. The head of the non-governmental agency will also be joining the discussion from Miami.

Students and faculty who wish to participate can RSVP online at [email protected]. Those who wish to participate online will receive instructions on how to do so.

Timothy Sandoval can be reached at [email protected].