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Student performance groups unite in relief efforts

November 10, 2017

Student-led performance and music groups from across campus will come together on Saturday night for a relief concert, organized by Karen Chan ’18 and Grace Punzalan ’18, to raise awareness and funds for the recovery from the natural disasters of this fall, including more recent disasters, such as the wildfires in California. Proceeds will go to Direct Relief, an international nonprofit humanitarian aid organization dedicated to helping those worldwide, whose lives are negatively affected by emergencies or poverty.

Like the leaders of the piña colada sale, bubble tea sale and “Hurricanes 101: Perspectives on Natural Disasters,” Chan and Punzalan have been meeting with Assistant Director of the McKeen Center Matt Gee since September, when several natural disasters hit Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The concert follows many other individual student and group efforts for natural disaster relief, but it diverges from previous efforts in that it involves different student performance groups, ranging from campus a cappella groups to the Slam Poets Society, coming together for the cause in one event.

“I was excited to be involved in this project because of the cause that it represents,” said Evan Schweikert ’18, co-president of the Bowdoin Music Collective (BMC), in an email to the Orient. “[But] I was also excited about the chance to work with [other] performance groups. This is one of the first times we have been involved in such a multi-representative show.”

According to Punzalan, it was important to choose an organization that provides aid to natural disaster relief efforts in a holistic way, and shines a light on all of the natural disaster emergencies that are happening around the world. Punzalan and Chan created pamphlets that will be distributed at the concert, chronicling Direct Relief’s previous responses to global crises.

Chan and Punzalan hope to remind students that they can take action at Bowdoin to help victims of disasters, even if they feel far away.

“We don’t have control over how many people are going to come and donate,” Punzalan said. “But we’re giving people [a] space to learn more about what’s happening, and help out in any way they want.”

The money raised for natural disaster relief by student efforts over the course of the semester has totaled almost $4,000 collectively. With their natural disaster relief concert, Chan and Punzalan hope to build upon these accomplishments. Attendees of the concert will be encouraged to make a $3 donation, and baked goods will be sold at Kresge Auditorium for the same suggested amount.

While tomorrow’s event focuses on individual student performers, Chan and Punzalan have worked with the BMC to organize an additional concert on Friday, November 17, featuring performances by student bands in order to make the event more appealing to a broader audience.

Both events will be open to the public. Those who are unable to attend can donate through the Office of Student Activities in David Saul Smith Union.

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