Hands for Haiyan fundraises for the Philippines

Since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, 6,201 people have been reported dead and 27,665 are missing, according to the official Filipino government record. In an effort to aid the thousands in need, the Lead Weber team of the Weber State University Student Association organized Hands for Haiyan, a service project to raise money for those affected by the storm.

The idea emerged about two months ago when Lead Weber held an open meeting, brainstorming ways to collect money. At this meeting, graphic designers came up with the idea of making three different posters to sell.

“The project officially is called Hands for Haiyan,” said Tessa Diamond, the vice president of leadership at WSU. “The posters incorporate hands in their design. So they’re really pretty creative and thoughtful, and I’m excited to share them with everyone.”

This Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Shepherd Union Building, students can purchase these posters and more from the Lead Weber team’s booth. A donation can also buy a spin on the prize wheel, which has spots giving away things like candy and WSU goodies.

“If we have anybody landing on the coveted spot on the wheel, the shield of all shields, we’ll be giving away some Weber swag,” Diamond said. “Students are invited to come down and visit us in the atrium, have a good time with a little bit of music, and pay $1 or $2 to spin the wheel or to take home a poster.”

All of the money raised will be donated to the American Red Cross, which will then use the money for life-saving services in the Philippines.

Aaron Burgin, Lead Weber co-director, generated the idea for the service project.

“It started because I saw on TV how many people were dying, and suddenly it kind of struck me,” Burgin said. “We have it all, literally, and they suddenly, overnight, had nothing. So I was thinking about that. People are still to this day collecting bodies. They are still without clean food and water. They just really need some extra help.”

Lead Weber promotes leadership principles in many different ways. Burgin said he feels this is a chance to exemplify one important aspect of leadership, which is service. “We talk a lot about service, and we don’t really get a lot of opportunity to do it. I felt like this was a perfect opportunity to actually get our feet wet . . . to allow kids to come out and do service that benefits an entire nation.”

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on Nov. 8. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 149,015 houses were damaged or destroyed during the super storm. Although it’s been two months, provinces are still in ruins.

“It’s a really good opportunity to do service for something that the majority of people have forgotten about,” said Lead Weber member Etta Chavez. “Even though it’s been two months, there’s still a lot going on over there.”

Chavez said she thinks people can easily forget about things that aren’t happening right in front of them. She said sometimes a reminder is needed to show students they can still help. “We just want people to see that they can be leaders in everyday life.”

Burgin said he sees the service project as a way to better everybody involved. “Mostly, it’s just an opportunity for everyone to grow, everyone to get out of themselves, and to help out other people,” he said. “I really hope we do a lot of good for the Filipinos.”