Lewis University kicked off a university-wide effort to add to the support for the people of Haiti. An earthquake occurred in the region in early January. The effort has been named, “Hope for Haiti.” Every Tuesday for the rest of the semester “Hope for Haiti” will be an opportunity for students, staff and faculty on campus to raise funds, educate people about the situation in Haiti, and provide a time for the Lewis community to continue to pray and remember the people of Haiti.
The Lewis University community gathered Jan. 26 for the first event, Lespwa pou Ayiti (Creole for Hope for Haiti). A prayer service included Pastor Fran Leeman of LifeSpring Community Church in Plainfield offering a reflection on his personal experience in Haiti. He shared his story of traveling to Haiti 13 years ago with another pastor and coming home with a new perspective. It led to more activism in supporting Haiti, and five years later he started “New Life for Haiti.” Volunteers in the organization make frequent visits to Haiti to do mission work.
Adam Setmeyer, university minister and coordinator of Retreats and Social Justice Education at Lewis University, led the event by opening with prayers and songs including a litany for the victims. Two student leaders, Amy Smith and Venus Wardlow, read aloud spiritual readings. Student Chima Enyia delivered a presentation on Haiti’s background and history, highlighting international disputes, official languages of Haiti, the literacy rate in the country and other historical facts.
Setmeyer urged action for Haiti relief as he reminded the crowd that people’s hands, feet, voices and minds can create change. For the remainder of this semester, student organizations or individual students will sponsor a Tuesday for Hope for Haiti. Examples of future Hope for Haiti events will include fundraisers, documentaries, guest speakers and more.
A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The ninth largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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