April 4, 2005

Students Give Relief

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Last night, students from a variety of campus organizations answered nationwide relief efforts with a benefit concert unique to Cornell. The Big Red Relief concert encompassed students from diverse performing groups, athletic teams, and cultural organizations. The concert was attended by over 500 students and succeeded in raising roughly $10,000 for the victims of the tsunami. All of the proceeds of the event will be donated to UNICEF and go directly to the tsunami relief effort in Southeast Asia.

The groups featured in Sunday night’s performance included 211 Entertainment, The Chordials, Last Call, The Class Notes, The Chai Notes, Nothing But Treble, BASE Productions, Shadows Dance Troupe, Jeff Spirko, Moksha, Absolute Zero, Skits-O-Phrenics, C.U. Varsity Gymnastics Team, Thousands of One, Ring of Steel, Sitara, Mad Dash, and Caribbean Students Association Dance Ensemble.

President of the Sri Lankan Student Association, Uvinie Hettiaratchy ’06 introduced the benefit with a slide show depicting the human impact of the tsunami. Hettiaratchy said that the inspiration behind the photographs was to put “a face behind” the tragedy and to demonstrate to the audience “how serious the situation is.”

The event, emceed by 211 Entertainment, continued with 18 enthusiastic performances, which, at times, had the audience clapping, singing and dancing. Many of the performers thanked the audience for their support for the event, and demonstrated their appreciation for the opportunity to take part in the relief effort.

Following the catastrophic Indian Ocean earthquake, various students returning to campus shared a common desire to aid the tsunami victims. Many of these students joined together and founded C.U. Tsunami Relief, a student-run organization dedicated to extending the global relief effort to the Cornell campus.

According Danielle Inwald ’05, member of the varsity gymnastics team, the Chordials and co-president of the Red Key Honorary Society, members of C.U. Tsunami Relief were “trying to think of ways to really pull together and include different parts of Cornell” in the disaster relief effort. Inwald formulated the idea of a large benefit concert involving performances from diverse student groups. The benefit immediately received support from student organizations eager to plan and perform in the event.

Leaders from diverse campus organizations were fundamental in all aspects of the concert planning process. Due to the expansiveness of the concert, the students dedicated to this effort spent months exchanging e-mails in preparation for the event. The students broke up into subcommittees with varied tasks such as coordinating support among different campus groups, publicizing, and obtaining the necessary funding for the large-scale event. Regarding the student involvement in the event, Inwald said that “it’s been incredible how much everyone has pulled together.”

Upon hearing about the concert, Susan Murphy ’73, vice president of student and academic services was “very impressed with the ambition” of the students involved and responded by partially funding the event to minimize production costs.

Other sponsors of the event included Cornell University Athletics, WVBR Radio, Red Key Honorary Society, Cornell Concert Commission, the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Association, the Multicultural Greek Letter Council, Student-Athletic Advisory Council, School of Hotel Administration, Creating Chapters of Excellence, Pita Pit, Smoothie Hut, Perfect Screen Printers Unlimited, and BUZZ Magazine.

In addition to concert tickets, Big Red Relief sold t-shirts bearing its logo. Local restaurants joined the relief effort by providing various discounts to students wearing the t-shirt. Rulloff’s, Collegetown Bagels, and the ABC Caf