SHU aids Ecuador earthquake relief effort
Seton Hall University has partnered with the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) to raise money in support of relief efforts in Ecuador, where a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit on April 16, killing more than 650 people and injuring thousands of others.
All money donated by the university community goes to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency is assessing the damage done in Ecuador and will be offering aid to the victims of the earthquake.
“As with all natural disasters, the first thing needed by those affected is financial assistance,” Michelle Peterson, director of DOVE, said in an email. “It would not be safe to travel to the hard-hit areas, but Catholic Relief Services has emergency responders on the ground providing relief. Seton Hall is fundraising for CRS to support its mission.”
Kiley Britten, a freshman diplomacy and international relations major, is a CRS student ambassador at Seton Hall and said that CRS has sent relief teams to Ecuador to assist the communities affected by the destruction of the earthquake.
“These teams will help with relief and recovery efforts,” Britten said in an email. “On campuses, CRS students are collecting money and other goods to send to Ecuador. At Seton Hall, President Esteban asked for donations from everyone at the school to raise money for those who are without food, water and shelter.”
Lindsay Smetanka, a sophomore diplomacy and international relations major, is also a CRS student ambassador on campus. She said that CRS is inviting individuals to pray and stay updated on CRS response work.
“My role as a Catholic Relief Services student ambassador is to learn about global poverty and injustice in order to educate my peers,” Smetanka said. “In addition, student ambassadors mobilize the campus community to respond to global emergencies and injustice. We aim to connect faith to action in order to cultivate global discipleship.”
Britten said that her passion for helping others is what made her interested in becoming a CRS student ambassador.
“I have never grown up in want, I have always been taken care of and privileged,” Britten said. “As someone who has had everything they ever needed, I believe it is my duty to make sure that every single human being is able to get what they need to survive. Being able to contribute to something in such a way and that is so focused on faith is perfect to me; there is no other way to help change the world for good in my opinion.”
Peterson said that DOVE has planned international service trips in the past and continues to plan for the future.
“We focus on being a ministry of presence and love to those living in poverty,” Peterson said. “It is certainly possible that we could travel to Ecuador someday, but we are not currently planning for this.”
Donations to the relief effort can be made at www.shu.edu/ecuador-earthquake-help.cfm.
Ashley Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.