By Yasmin Tadjdeh, News Editor

Students looking to help Haiti will soon have the opportunity. On Wednesday, the Resident Student Association at George Mason University will be hosting the Haiti Awareness Talent Show, where students will be encouraged to text donations to the disaster-stricken country.

Taking place in Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center from 9 to 11 p.m., the event has been in the works since late January.

“Initially we were trying to find an event to put on [but] after the earthquake [in Haiti, it gave us the idea to put it on for them],” said Rufaro Mandizvidza, a sophomore economics major and representative of the RSA. “I personally had a couple of friends there, and it inspired me. I could have lost some friends, and they had so many experiences [that needed to be shared]. I wanted to use the resources I had and the resources RSA had and the influence to raise awareness.”

At the show, attendants will be able to watch students make use of their various talents. Singers, dancers and poets will share the stage, according to Neal Landers, a sophomore biology major and member of the RSA. The event will also feature an iPod door prize.

In between performances, students will hear first-hand accounts from the Mason students who were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake. According to Mandizvidza, one of the biggest reasons that Haiti was chosen for the benefit show was its connection to Mason.

“We had nine Patriots in Haiti, and they brought back their experiences and what they saw,” said Mandizvidza. “[The students] gave us a connection.”
The primary goal of the event is to promote awareness of the issue. Although it has been over two months since the 7.0 earthquake hit 10 miles west from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, country is still struggling.

“Awareness breeds activism,” said Landers. “Tragedies and disasters bring people together to help.”
At the event, the RSA will encourage students to donate money to Haiti via text messaging. The RSA will be promoting the use of the Red Cross and the United Nations Way charities, but students can donate in whatever way they choose.

“[Texting donations] is safe and easy, so even if [a student] doesn’t have the money right then and there, they can go back later and donate,” said Landers.
Students on campus were interested in the event.

“I’m the secretary of the Caribbean Student Association, so [the Haiti Awareness Talent Show] would be something I would be interested in going to,” said Travina Parker, a sophomore elementary education major.

Parker was also interested in hearing the testimonies from students who were there when the earthquake hit.

“I haven’t heard a story from anyone who was down there, so it would help people understand how horrible it was,” she said.