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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA community steps up, donates for Haiyan victims

Shane Bekian
Shane Bekian / The Daily Wildcat Stephen Hall, a Library Sciences graduate student, donates an item to the Haiyan Food Drive at Likins Residence Hall on Nov. 16. All food items go to victims of the typhoon disaster in the Philippines.

Sabrina Segui-Lovely, a biochemistry junior, has been following news reports and speaking to her mom on the phone to get updates on Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, affecting millions and leaving thousands dead.

Segui-Lovely’s immediate family lives in the U.S., but her parents and some relatives are from the Philippines.

“All forms of communication were gone,” Segui-Lovely said. “My mom’s grandma is 102 [years old], and they had no idea where she was.”

Segui-Lovely’s cousin, whom she considers a sister, was unable to hear from her mother’s side of the family amidst the chaos.

“We hadn’t heard anything from them, we didn’t know if they were OK,” Segui-Lovely said. “To see the effect it had on her had a really strong effect on me. I don’t like to see the people that I love hurting.”

Segui-Lovely said her grandmother’s house is nearly demolished. The roof was torn off and the family now uses a tarp as a cover.

“I didn’t really see how big of an effect it was until I saw it affect people I know,” Segui-Lovely said. “The relief isn’t getting there soon enough.”

That was her cue to step in. Segui-Lovely decided to take initiative by starting her own donation drive within the UA community, to get relief to the Philippines as quickly as possible.

Arizona Takes on Haiyan is collecting clothes, shoes, hygiene products, non-perishable food items and money to help Haiyan typhoon victims.

Segui-Lovely said she used her membership in the Honors College and Pi Beta Phi sorority to spread the word about her drive. She spoke with the philanthropy chairs in her sorority and other Greek organizations and has been successful in getting six Greek houses to keep a donation box.

She then spoke to the Honors Student Council and was able to put donation boxes in Slonaker House, as well as Likins Hall and Árbol de la Vida and Yuma residence halls. The importance of the cause motivated her to take on the project, Segui-Lovely said.

“I’ve never actually put on a project like this by myself,” Segui-Lovely said. “I didn’t know how to go about starting something big, but I wanted more people and more donations, so I put myself out there and took the risk.”

Joseph Domby, a junior majoring in criminal justice and a friend of Segui-Lovely’s, said he is impressed by her initiative.

“It’s a huge task to take on,” Domby said. “I know it’s taking up a lot of her time, but it means a lot to her.”

Domby said he appreciates Segui-Lovely’s efforts and is currently collecting canned foods to donate. Segui-Lovely said she hopes to find a church in Tucson that is already doing a drive so she can consolidate her donations with its. However, if she can’t find a church drive, she said her mother has several contacts for people and facilities who can help her distribute her donations.

The donation drive around campus isn’t the only way the UA is helping relieve Haiyan victims. Asian Pacific American Student Affairs hosted an event on Friday titled “I’m More Than a Single Story.”

The goal of the event was to allow students to share stories about their culture, identity and struggles, said Jayme Wong, an ecology and evolutionary biology senior and a member of the APASA board of directors.

After Haiyan hit in Philippines, APASA made the event two-fold, giving attendees an opportunity to support the relief effort.

“They need our help, so we’re doing what we can,” Wong said.

Segui-Lovely said she wants everyone to be able to donate because she believes that anything could help those in the Philippines.

“A lot of people complain about little things, but things like this show you how blessed you are,” she said. “If you can help, why not help someone that really needs?”

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