Quinnipiac University's Puerto Rico relief efforts

By Camila Costa and Angela Varney

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It has been nearly two weeks since Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico, destroying nearly everything in her path. However, residents of Puerto Rico are still continuously working to rebuild their community. 

1,659 miles away from Puerto Rico, Quinnipiac University students currently living in Hamden, Connecticut are doing their part to support Puerto Rico's recovery from the recent devastation.

One student, Kelsey Bombon reacted quickly. Bombon is a Health Science Studies major and is of Puerto Rican decent. She also happens to be the President of Latino Cultural Society on campus.

After Bombon found out about the damaged caused by Hurricane Maria, she felt it was necessary to discuss it during her club’s general board meeting, especially because all members of the executive board are Puerto Rican.

“Our public relations chair was born and raised there and she came here when she was very little and pretty much said her old elementary school and old house were all completely gone,” Bombon said. “But she’s here where she has the blessing to get food whenever she’s hungry while her grandma has no food and is so hungry, we all had limited contact with our relatives, so we all comforted each other. By the end of the board meeting, we pretty much had a whole fundraiser week planned.”

The last event Bombon and the Latino Cultural Society are planning will happen on Oct. 13 at Buffalo Wild Wings in North Haven, Connecticut.

The participants have to present the flyer for the event and their check will go towards Bombon’s fundraiser. 10 percent of the total proceeds will be donated to their fund.

The Latino Cultural Society tabled on Sept. 26 and collected $300 in one day. Mark Thompson, Executive Vice President and Provost of Quinnipiac University, made an appearance and tried to help their cause by getting the attention of other students and faculty.

Bombon’s club is working on a website where people will be able to donate online without having to participate in events or tables, because she understands a lot of students and faculty might not have the time.

“We have faculty members saying they want to donate but can’t make it to the tabling, so they have been contacting me to give me money directly,” said Bombon.

In the meantime, they are working with organizations such as Unicef and Amizade.

“For specifically Mexico, we are working with Unicef so we trust that the money goes to where it needs to go,” said Bombon. “For Puerto Rico, we had a lot of organization recommendations to work with, but we wanted to know specifically where the money is going so we did research.”

Bombon goes above and beyond to help her community, whether that is at Quinnipiac or in Puerto Rico.

“I even went to Hartford and met with Connecticut legislators and decided to go with the organization Amizade. And, the Chief Diversity Officer here at QU has worked with them in the past– and for one of her classes she plans to bring students with her to Puerto Rico in January to donate the money personally.”

Bombon is counting on other organizations, inside and outside of Quinnipiac, to help with her cause. She has been working with Quinnipiac’s Student Government Association to help promote her club’s events as well as to help expand their ideals across Quinnipiac.

The last fundraiser will be happening next week, but in the meantime, if anyone wants to donate to help the victims in Puerto Rico, Bombon says she is available.

“I am always on main campus, so if anyone is ever interested in donating and needs to find me, I’m always here,” said Bombon.