Do you want the chance to “pie” Jennifer Elliott ’94, Dean of Students and Residential Life, or Head of School John Palfrey? Students will be able to buy three-dollar raffle tickets at Commons every Monday until the end of this term, and two lucky winners will be able to smash a pie in Elliott and Palfrey’s faces at the first All-School Meeting of spring term. Organized by Sebastian Romero ’20 and Alianza Latina, this fundraiser seeks to provide aid for Puerto Rico residents suffering from poor living conditions in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Romero, who is from Puerto Rico but is currently a day student from Andover, Mass., reached out to Alianza Latina about a potential fundraiser after seeing the consequences of Hurricane Maria.
“I was driven to start this for various reasons. First, I have witnessed the destruction and devastation firsthand and felt moved to help out. Second, I have noticed that many people around here have really forgotten about the event. Even though it has been four months since the hurricane, a lot still needs to be done on the island, and it is a cause that can’t be forgotten,” said Romero.
Gordon Paiva ’20 expressed agreement with Romero. According to Paiva, there is a lack of awareness surrounding the level of devastation that remains in the country due to inadequate news coverage.
“Unfortunately, the American media has not publicized the magnitude of the destruction faced by Puerto Rico, and as a result, they have not gotten the necessary support from both public and private groups. While this is relatively small scale, this event… contributes substantially to awareness of the issue,” said Paiva.
Romero brainstormed potential ways to increase awareness on campus and offer aid to struggling residents of Puerto Rico with Gerardo Segura ’18, co-head of Alianza Latina. According to Segura, mutual friend Matthew Cline ’19 suggested both the raffle and the prize, and it stuck.
Segura said, “I was in disbelief, I didn’t think Mr. Palfrey or Ms. Elliott would do it, but we tried it. We got a meeting with them, and it worked — they both said yes. It was really cool. I think it was a really great way to bring the community together while also helping to raise funds.”
According to Segura, providing aid for Puerto Rico’s inhabitants is an essential humanitarian cause and Americans have a responsibility to help out, even if the government fails to do so.
“I think it’s very important to help them because they’re a part of our greater community. Even if the government fails to aid, people still have to help each other,” said Segura.