The Catholic University of America

Jan. 21, 2010

“CUA Cares” Raises $12,000 So Far for Haitian Earthquake Victims

Donations Accepted Through Friday, Jan. 22

CUA Students accept donations to "CUA Cares" in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.


As of noon on Wednesday, Jan. 20, The Catholic University of America had raised nearly $12,000 as part of “CUA Cares — A Novena of Prayer and Action for the People of Haiti.”

The organizers of “CUA Cares” are asking that all faculty, staff and students contribute at least $5 to the fundraising effort. The money collected will be matched by the university and donated to Catholic Relief Services, which is providing emergency-response services to Haiti, which was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12.

“ ‘CUA Cares’ is what CUA is all about — students coming together to support those who are suffering and in need,” says Jonathan Jerome, one of the students leading the effort. “It has been a far bigger initiative than I ever imagined and the support and care of our community is its driving force.”

Jerome, a senior theology major from Charlotte, N.C., said one of the most important goals of “CUA Cares” is raising awareness. Members of the CUA community are now more aware of what they are praying for and how donations can help the people of Haiti.

“I will be honest, I did not know much about Haiti prior to the horrible events that have plagued that nation, but through education I have a better understanding of why it is so important to help — and how skipping a trip to Starbucks and giving my $3 to the people of Haiti will truly help,” said Nikki Lynne Staphanou, a senior history major from Philadelphia and member of the student leadership team of CUA Cares.

Money will be collected through Friday at the CUA Cares table in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center from noon to 6 p.m. and on Thursday, Jan. 20, from 8 to 10 p.m. and online at Checks can also be dropped off at the Office of the President in Nugent Hall.

Students will also be collecting money outside the Edward M. Crough Center for Architectural Studies on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., as thousands of visitors travel to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the National Prayer Vigil for Life.

Approximately $1,200 was raised over the weekend at campus Masses, athletic events and a concert by the student group Redline a cappella.

“While the main objective was and is to raise as much as possible for the people of Haiti, without educating the community on what had happened, and without the spiritual support — nothing would have been possible,” said Christopher Pierno, a junior politics major from Queens, N.Y., who is helping to lead the fundraising effort. “The most important part of this whole venture was the fact that there was one cause, one drive, and one goal as a community.”

On the night of Friday, Jan. 15, the second day of the novena, more than 20 students gathered to pray in Centennial Village, Jerome said. “There is a desire among the students to show that they care in a time when hope seems lost.  We don't know the people of Haiti, but this prayer unites us with them in their time of need.”

“I have been blown away by the response of the students,” says John Puskar, a member of the student leadership team. “They have gone above and beyond to give to the people of Haiti. After such a catastrophe, it is amazing to see the campus community come together to make such a profound impact.”

Referring to the university’s tagline, Puskar, a senior politics major from Trumull, Conn., said, “When you come to Catholic University you hear, ‘Reason. Faith. Service.’ At a time like this, you know that’s really not overrated.”