Harding students work to provide immediate shelter for Haitians

SEARCY, Ark. — In an effort to provide hope and comfort to the people of Haiti, the Harding University student body is implementing a project called “Tents and Tarps.”

As a result of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, many people in Port-au-Prince are left either without a home or with a fear that inevitable aftershocks will take their homes away. Because of this damage and fear, a large portion of Port-au-Prince’s population now lives in “tent cities” that are beginning to grow in public parks, soccer fields and anywhere there is room.

However, according to a survey trip done last week by Harding professor Dr. Mark Elrod and freelance photojournalist Phil Holsinger, these “tent cities” are often made up of nothing more than sticks, ropes and cloth sheets.

After being made aware of the need for shelter, particularly with the coming rains, Harding Student Association President Bryan Clifton and others drafted the idea for “Tents and Tarps.”

“Our objective at Harding is to have a tent and tarp sent to Haiti for each member of the Harding undergraduate student body,” Clifton said.

The Arkansas school, which is working with other universities to raise the funds to purchase the tents, has a goal of providing at least 4,500 tents to the people of Port-au-Prince.

“One tent will provide shelter for one Haitian family,” Clifton said.
“Many times, that includes up to 20 people.”

The students are collecting all money, as well as accepting donated tents, to send shelter to Port-au-Prince by Feb. 1, 2010. Harding is working with numerous organizations and companies in order to get the best prices for tents and shipping.

For more information, contact Bryan Clifton. To donate money to “Tents and Tarps,” visit www.harding.edu or www.tentsandtarps.org, which should be up and running by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Others in the Harding community are also working to send aid to Haiti.
Associate professor Dr. Joli Love, a soprano, will present “High Cs for Haiti,” a benefit vocal recital featuring classical selections by Gounod, Strauss, Mozart and others. Dr. Arthur Shearin, professor, will join her in a duet, and Dr. Scott Carrell, professor, will accompany on the piano. Donations and supplies will be collected in plastic buckets at the event and then shipped to Haiti. For more information, contact the music department at 501-279-4343.

Graduate students in the Physician Assistant Program and the College of Pharmacy are also collecting donations and supplies to assemble family buckets and hygiene bags for the people of Haiti. The deadline for donations is Thursday, Jan. 28, at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Susan Grace at 501-279-5501.