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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Rise Up! Campaign raises money for Typhoon Haiyan relief

In response to the recent Typhoon Haiyan, Filipino organizations across campus have come together to kick off the Rise Up! Campaign.

Only three months ago, the deadliest typhoon in the history of the Philippines took over 6,000 lives, according to the nation’s government. Approximately 11 million people have been affected by the catastrophe, and the country is still recovering from the extreme impact.

During the weekend following the typhoon, multiple students at UC Davis, including fifth-year history major Kirby Araullo, were quick to extend their hands in support.

After reaching out to Filipino organizations and clubs on campus, Araullo attended a meeting with all of the presidents of the seven main Fil-Am (Filipino-American) community groups.

During the meeting, Angelica Singson, Kirby Araullo and Robyn Huey were designated to be the main coordinators of the Rise Up! relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan.

“I have worked with relief efforts before at my junior college back in 2009 when another typhoon happened,” Araullo said.

Shortly before Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, the 7.2 magnitude Bohol earthquake shook the same affected region.

As the nation was in the process of recovering from the drastic earthquake, the Fil-Am community was working to plan a Bohol earthquake relief fundraiser.

With the synergistic impacts of both the earthquake and typhoon, Araullo set out to find a way to combine the relief efforts.

“I set up a Go Fund Me page to begin fundraising and that is kind of how Rise Up! started,” Araullo said. “At first it was the UCD Fil-Am Typhoon Haiyan/Bohol Earthquake Relief Effort, which is a really long name. I wanted to make it shorter so that it was easier and catchier for people to remember.”

Araullo also mentioned that the phrase “Rise Up!” is rooted in the notion of the Aggie community rising up to support Typhoon Haiyan survivors.

As the external coordinator of Rise Up!, Araullo specifically works in outreach to connect with other campus organizations.

Araullo has joined forces with Robyn Huey, a third-year landscape architecture major and the community mentorship advocacy coordinator of BRIDGE, Pilipino/a Outreach & Retention. Along with working as one of the main coordinators of the Rise Up! Campaign, Huey has helped Araullo to publicize and advocate.

Immediately after Typhoon Haiyan, Huey organized a community dialogue in the Student Community Center to discuss the typhoon. Over 100 people gathered in support, and media sources like KCRA and AggieTV documented the event.

However, Huey said that one of the primary obstacles in effectively running the campaign is planning a relief effort through organizations that are busy with other events.

“While we have many passionate students and leaders who want to do more for relief efforts, we also have a responsibility to maintain our work as students and our role as board members and officers of various organizations,” Huey said.

Although it may be difficult to combine several student organizations in this effort, Yee Xiong, ASUCD Senator and a third-year Asian American studies and design double major, has advocated for student government involvement with the campaign.

“I was with Kirby that weekend when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, and when I saw how much he was affected and wanted to coordinate a relief effort to help the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, I immediately gave him my full support,” Xiong said. “I wanted to act as a resource for him and the rest of the campaign coordinators to provide them with anything that might have helped.”

Along with ASUCD, Araullo and those involved with the campaign collaborated with alumni, administration and faculty alike.

“A lot of UCD alumni were active in organizing their own relief efforts outside of Davis,” Araullo said.

Recently, Araullo also met with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Adela de la Torre, to discuss the campaign and planning strategies.

Initially, the campaign set its goal at $5,000, but set a higher target shortly after. As of last December, the campaign has raised $5,837 through a combination of cash and online donations.

“Our goal is to reach $33,000 — it seems like an impossible thing to do but if each UC Davis student donated one dollar to the campaign, we would easily reach our goal,” Xiong said.

The majority of the monetary donations have been collected through donation jars located at the Cross Cultural Center and Student Recruitment and Retention Center.

All of the funds will be sent to NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns) which works closely with grassroot organizations in the Philippines.

Araullo works with professor of Asian American studies Robyn Rodriguez, and due to her close ties with NAFCON, Araullo decided they were the best option for handling donations.

According to Araullo, government corruption and the current politics of the Philippines also factored into their final decision to not send funds directly to the government.

“There were a lot of issues during the typhoon because the government was just not doing their job and has not been accountable,” Araullo said. “So that is why we chose NAFCON.”

Through joining with NAFCON, an opportunity eventually blossomed for Araullo. With the organization’s assistance, Araullo is preparing to embark on a health mission trip to the Philippines in the spring.

“I wanted to go last quarter and be there to physically help, but I had finals,” Araullo said. “If we have actual Davis students who had experienced the area that was affected, it would be more convincing for administration, faculty and other students to donate and help Rise Up!”

Two months after the disaster, thousands of displaced individuals are in need of support, and Xiong said that she believes Araullo’s motivation to go on a health mission stems from his eagerness to help out.

Additionally, Araullo shared his interest in filmmaking and plans to document the current state of the nation during his trip. He is also hoping that he can create a documentary and hold a screening for the cause on campus.

In terms of the Rise Up! Campaign, Araullo is in the midst of discussing the potential of a benefit concert in the spring.

“Just be on the lookout for upcoming events,” Araullo said. “Right now, the least students can do is spread the word.”

Although Araullo said there is much to accomplish, he believes the Rise Up! Campaign will persist in raising awareness to the ongoing issue that has altered the lives of so many people.

“Self-education of the situation in the Philippines is also important, as many students during the community dialogue brought up questions about the political and cultural dynamics and how they relate to relief efforts from abroad,” Huey said. “Understanding which organization to donate money to is important in making sure efforts have the greatest effect possible.”

 

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