Caribbean student groups across Stanford will come together Thursday to host a Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert in support of the Caribbean islands devastated by hurricanes in 2017.
Kelsey Reardon ’18 and Astrid Casimire ’19, members of Cardinal Calypso, co-coordinated the event. They explained that although many islands have received short-term aid such as food, water and medical services, the islands affected still need long-term support.
“So many roads and other forms of infrastructure were destroyed, and rebuilding that takes a lot of capital and time,” Reardon said.
Ticket sales go to the Puerto Rico and Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund organized by Global Giving, a non-profit that is partnering with local organizations in the affected areas to distribute the aid. In Puerto Rico, Global Giving is funding projects like rebuilding roofs with more storm-resistant materials and providing fuel in the form of gas and electricity to cities still without power. Reardon and Casimire emphasized that they chose the organization to empower local groups and cater to local needs rather than use a top-down approach.
“If we’re raising donations for foods or clothes, there are issues with that because that is sometimes not what people need,” Casimire said. “We wanted to make sure that the University did something meaningful.”
Student speakers from across the Caribbean will share their experiences with the hurricanes in their home countries. Alison Bartsch ’21, a member of the Caribbean Students Association and one of the student speakers for the event, endured Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands the week before she moved into Stanford. She said her island is still feeling the effects.
“The top two floors of our hospital were blown away and the bottom two floors were flooded,” Bartsch said. “It has been repaired enough to give short term help, but we still have not received federal funding to fully rebuild the hospital, even though it’s the only hospital for the thousands of people on the island.”
The concert will also feature performances from Talisman, Cardinal Calypso and Catch-A-Fyah, including a first-ever collaboration performance between Cardinal Calypso and Talisman.
“I think this concert is special because it’s the first time that the Caribbean groups are coming together on campus for such a big event and collaborating,” Casimire said. “We are so many different islands, but one thing that’s special [about the Caribbean is] the diversity, beauty and energy of the culture … and this concert is a good representation of that.”
A donation page is soliciting direct contributions to a hurricane relief fund that will remain open after the concert.
The concert will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in Dinkelspiel Auditorium.