Skip to Main Content

Johns Hopkins UniversityArts and Sciences Magazine

A Fundraising Marathon for Haiti

haiti relief event

The student-organized “Saturday for Haiti,” a 16-hour fundraising marathon, included activities in the O’Connor Recreation Center.

Photos: mark Mehlinger/


The earthquake that devastated Haiti in January has largely faded from the headlines, but Hopkins undergraduates are working diligently to make sure that the survivors and their families are not forgotten.

The students, who represent dozens of different student groups on the Homewood campus, came together to form the JHU Haiti Aid Coalition and organized “Saturday for Haiti” on Feb. 19. The 16-hour fundraising marathon started with a pancake breakfast, continued with rock climbing, a Haitian dance class, and other activities at the O’Connor Recreation Center, and culminated in an evening of entertainment that included a student a cappella and dance showcase, a multicultural food tasting, and a dance party. The benefit raised about $2,500 for Haitian relief efforts and drew several hundred participants.

Money raised by the event will be split between Partners in Health and the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“We weren’t sure what to expect but we were really pleased with this outcome,” says Diana Wohler, a junior molecular and cellular biology major and a JHU Haiti Aid organizer. “The greatest surprise to me was that in the days following the event so many people came up to me and told me how proud they were that we were able to raise this much money. They also asked when we were going to do something like this again.”

Elsewhere across Johns Hopkins relief efforts for Haiti included:

  • The Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response deployed at least four Go Teams of JHU doctors and nurses to care for the sick and injured in Haiti.
  • A team from Jhpiego, a JHU affiliate, traveled to Haiti to restore quality health services for women and newborns.
  • Pediatric residents at the School of Medicine, who were in Haiti participating in a tropical medicine elective, worked with Karen Schneider, a Johns Hopkins pediatric emergency specialist, to provide trauma care in Port-au-Prince.

    “Saturday for Haiti” was the kickoff to what organizers hope will be a semester filled with Haiti fundraising and educational events on the Homewood campus. “Beyond the immediate tragedy of the earthquake, the extent of pain and suffering will continue because of terrible policies and the way people turned away from Haiti,” says Michael Rogers, a junior anthropology major and one of the event’s organizers. “As students, one of the most productive things we can do is turn toward listening and keep the attention on what’s going on in Haiti. We are sticking around.”