Hokies United has harnessed the energy and ideas of the more than 100 people who met last week to mobilize. The group says they are determined to generate post-earthquake donations, start a public-education campaign, and begin coordinating relief trips to Haiti.

“That’s the beautiful thing – everyone’s focused on how we can help Haiti,” said Brandon Carroll, president of Virginia Tech’s Student Government Association and point person for the relief effort. Carroll, of Poolesville, Md., is a senior majoring in agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

To encourage donations, jars have been placed on campus in Squires Student Center and also in downtown Blacksburg businesses. Fundraising ideas in the works include T-shirt sales, a 5K run, potluck dinners, and other gatherings. “Different clubs can feel free to sponsor events,” Carroll said. For more information and a calendar, see Hokies United™.

The University Bookstore on campus as well as the Volume Two Bookstore at University Mall on University City Boulevard are accepting donations, said Donald J. Williams, the bookstores’ executive director. A video of students donating can be found online. (Graduate student Amijot Bajwa of Dehli, India, a bookstore employee who is working on her master’s in business administration in the Pamplin College of Business, solicits a donation from Raven Gray of Warsaw, Va., a senior majoring in agricultural sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.)

The Virginia Tech community already has donated more than $12,000 through the two bookstores. “But I expect it to keep growing,” Williams said.

Upcoming events with all proceeds going to the Hokies United™ effort include:

  • Hokies for Haiti Salsa Night, Wednesday, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Abella Café, 204 Draper Road in Blacksburg. Sponsored by SalsaTech, the salsa club at Virginia Tech, the event’s admission charges are $2 and $3 (members and nonmembers).
  • Mardi Gras for Haiti Ball, Feb. 6, 7 p.m., at the University Club, 100 Otey St. on the Virginia Tech campus, sponsored by Coalition for Justice. The $10 admission includes food and Cajun music by Billy Coteau.

Volunteers are organizing on other fronts as well.

Public education is part of the plan to spread news about progress in Haiti and to coordinate relief trips by students, faculty, and staff members from Virginia Tech. “We want to make sure that we figure out what we can do for the long haul, not just while the media are there,” Carroll said.

Hokies United™ is a student-driven volunteer effort organized to respond to local, national, and international tragedies. “We’re loosely organized, and anyone who wants to help Haiti is a member of Hokies United™,” Carroll said. “It is a powerful thing – everyone working together to maximize the impact.”

The website also lists several ways to donate money.

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