Grand Rapids Community College’s TRIO Student Support Services will be collecting supplies for Puerto Rico from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 13 in room 122 of the Applied Technology Center.
The supplies will be sent to the Universidad de Turabo (University of Turabo) in Puerto Rico to help students at the university continue with their studies and rebuild their campus after hurricane Maria ravaged the island in 2017.
TRIO Program Advisor, Anna Maria Clark, is encouraging GRCC students to help in any way they can.
“Students helping students can be a powerful movement,” Clark stated in an email to The Collegiate. “The students we are helping lost all their academic supplies during the hurricane. Education is one of the most powerful tools in the world and students helping other students be able to have the basic resources will contribute immensely to the students there being able to reach their goals.”
Among the donations needed are school supplies like pens, pencils, sharpeners and paper. But there are also bigger items GRCC students can donate like scientific calculators, backpacks, tablets, printers and iPads. For a complete list of the supplies needed click here.
Life in Puerto Rico has not completely returned to normal since Hurricane Maria hit in September. For students, the devastating effects of the hurricane have been especially hard on their studies.
“The need continues to be high,” Clark said. “Parts of Puerto Rico still have not gained back basic services such as electricity. Many students lost everything, including jobs.”
In a statement about the need at the university, Director of the TRIO/SSS program at the Universidad de Turabo, Sylvia Matos said, “The hurricane passed but its effects are felt every day. There are students, colleagues of the program and collaborators of the university who do not have electricity in their homes to meet their needs and therefore the internet to study. Practically every day we are left without electric service in the university and in the homes of families that already had electricity.”
GRCC student, Paulina Cartes-Brito, visited the Universidad de Turabo on March 7 to meet with the TRIO/Student Support Services Program administrators. Cartes-Brito also helped ship six small boxes of donations that were collected during last month’s efforts.
This will be the last opportunity to donate to the Universidad de Turabo this semester.
“We will certainly remain in contact with the program and the staff/students there and see how things continue to evolve,” Clark said. “We hope this partnership/friendship might lead maybe to other opportunities for our students.”
For those looking to donate to the Universidad de Turabo but are unable to make it to campus on Tuesday, collections will be accepted through March 14. Donations can be dropped off at the TRIO office located on the third floor of the Student Center, room 332.